Identifying and assessing factors affecting farmers’ markets Electronic Benefit Transfer sales in Hawai’i


Wolff, G.; Nelson-Hurwitz, D.C.; Buchthal, O.V.


Objective: Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) placement at farmers' markets can reduce access disparities for low-income consumers. However, resources needed to operate EBT programs may challenge markets' business models. A conceptual model of factors impacting EBT program success was developed from literature, and an exploratory study conducted to assess the impact of model variables on market EBT sales.Design: Annual EBT sales data were obtained for all Hawai'i farmers' markets with EBT programs (n 22). Key informant interviews (n 19), along with records review, were performed to gather data on model variables. Exploratory analysis was conducted to estimate the impact of individual model variables on EBT sales.Setting: Farmers' markets accepting EBT in the state of Hawai'i.Participants: Market managers and EBT program partners (n 19).Results: Markets engaging in community partnerships , consumer education , social media promotion or EBT incentives averaged higher sales than markets not reporting these practices. Sales increased by $3 for every ten additional SNAP-participating households and decreased by $35 for each competing EBT-accepting supermarket, grocery or farmers' market within the market's access area. Sales increased by $137/vendor for each additional hour/week the market was open.Conclusion: Factors suggested by the model, particularly community engagement and partnership, marketing methods, consumer base and competition for EBT sales in the market area substantively affected EBT sales. Assessing these factors may identify markets with the greatest chance of EBT success and suggest ways to strengthen struggling EBT programs. © The Authors 2020.


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