Fruit and vegetable incentive programs
Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
- This strategy can help promote healthy childhood environments. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
- Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
- Offer low-income participants matching funds to purchase healthy foods, especially fresh fruits and vegetables
- Incentive amounts vary from dollar-to-dollar matches to matched spending increments
- Incentives are frequently redeemed at farmers markets, grocery stores, mobile markets, and community-supported agriculture markets
- Often called bonus dollars, market bucks, produce coupons, or nutrition incentives
- Typically funded or managed by nonprofits, private foundations, or local governments
- Many programs match funds to SNAP benefit spending amounts
Evidence and impacts
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
- Increased affordability, access, purchase, and consumption of fruits and vegetables
- Increased healthy food purchases, enabling increased healthy food consumption
- Increased variety of fruits and vegetables purchased
- Improved dietary intake for families with low incomes
Best practices in implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- Combining incentive programs with other nutrition and health-based programs amplifies effects and is more likely to create sustained change
- Partnering with farmers’ markets and local vendors to set up infrastructure to accept SNAP and other food assistance programs can help provide equitable access and increase awareness in communities
- Food assistance programs should include culturally important foods consistent with the values and traditions of their participants
- As with many public support programs, disseminating program-related information and ensuring high rates of take-up can be challenging