Perceptions and Experiences of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Participants Related to Receiving Food and Nutrition-Related Text Messages Sent Agency-Wide: Findings from Focus Groups in San Diego County, California


Felix, C.; Strochlic, R.; Melendrez, B.; Tang, H.; Wright, S.; Gosliner, W.


We developed and sent a series of five monthly text messages promoting fruit and vegetable consumption to approximately 170,000 SNAP participants in San Diego County, California. The text messages, which were sent in English and Spanish, included links to a dedicated bilingual website offering additional information, including how to select, store, and prepare seasonal fruits and vegetables, health benefits of different fruits and vegetables, recipes, and tips to reduce food waste. To our knowledge, this represents the first instance of a SNAP agency providing nutrition information directly to SNAP participants. We conducted seven focus groups (four in English and three in Spanish) with a convenience sample of twenty-six text message recipients, to elicit their perceptions of this intervention, self-reported behavior changes, and recommendations for moving forward. Respondents reported overwhelmingly positive perceptions of this effort, including increased intake of fruits and vegetables, and trying new fruits and vegetables. Participants also reported improved perceptions of SNAP. Virtually all would like this effort to continue, and many would like to receive the messages more frequently than once a month. This effort represents a relatively low-cost approach that SNAP agencies can implement to provide SNAP participants with food and nutrition information that can help them to improve their diets, optimize their food dollars, and enhance their feelings of well-being related to participating in the program. © 2023 by the authors.


; ; ; ;