Cooking Matters at the Store

Share Our Strength


Cooking Matters at the Store is a free program that works with families to stretch their food budgets so their children get healthy meals at home. Cooking Matters at the Store is conversation about skills that helps adults learners get the most nutrition for their food dollars.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

Intervention Type: Direct Education

Intervention Reach and Adoption

From the guided grocery store tours, adults experiencing limited food resources learn how to shop smart and use nutrition information to make healthier choices. Cooking Matters at the Store is a widespread program and is implemented through partnerships in community settings throughout the United States. 

Setting: Childcare, Community, Food Retail, School, Farmers Markets, Faith-Based Community, Food Pantries, Healthcare, Indian Tribal Organizations

Target Audience: Pregnant/Breastfeeding Women, Parents/Mothers/Fathers, Adults, Older Adults

Race/Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

Cooking Matters at the Store consists of up to a 1.5-hour intervention held as an in-store tour or a pop-up variation in alternate settings. Participants are empowered with four key food skills:

  1. Reading food labels
  2. Comparing unit prices
  3. Finding whole grain foods
  4. Identifying three ways to purchase produce

Intervention Materials

Cooking Matters facilitator materials support guided conversations with participants focused on the four key skills. Participants take home a booklet with recipes and shopping tips. 

Intervention Costs

Materials available at no cost.

Evidence Summary

In 2013, Altarum Institute evaluated Cooking Matters at the Store’s impact. Highlights from the report include:

  • Following a grocery store tour, most families have high confidence in their ability to make their food purchases go farther (74%) and to get the most produce for their money (72%).
  • 89% of families report saving money on groceries five weeks after a tour.
  • Food security increased from 53% to 64% after taking a tour.
  • The percentage of families comparing food labels for ingredients when shopping more than doubled from 40% pre-tour to 83% post-tour.
  • After a tour:
    • 76% of families buy more fruits and vegetables
    • 62% of families buy more low-sodium foods
    • 55% of families buy more low-sugar foods
    • 62% of families buy more lean proteins
    • 54% of families buy more low-fat dairy
    • 85% of families buy less unhealthy food

For more information, refer to the full report:

Classification: Practice-tested

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual ST1, ST2 MT1, MT2 LT1, LT2
Environmental Settings
Sectors of Influence

Evaluation Materials

There are currently no evaluation materials publicly available.

Success Story

SNAP-Ed in Colorado brings nutrition education into the grocery store:


Additional Information

Website: The Cooking Matters website ( includes recipes with full nutrition information and links to print and share on social media, videos and tips on saving money at the store, turning kid favorites into healthy meals and holidays on a budget, stories from graduates and volunteers, and information on how to apply for partnership in order gain access to full curricula and implement programming locally.

Contact Person(s):
Cooking Matters National
1030 15th Street, NW, Suite 1100 W, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 800-969-4767