The California Nutrition Incentive Program: Participants’ Perceptions and Associations with Produce Purchases, Consumption, and Food Security


Gosliner, W.; Hewawitharana, S.C.; Strochlic, R.; Felix, C.; Long, C.


We examined the associations of a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) point-of-purchase financial incentive program at farmers’ markets with produce purchase, consumption, and food security outcomes. We conducted cross-sectional, interviewer-administered intercept surveys with 325 adult SNAP participants at six incentive programs, five comparison farmers’ markets, and nine comparison supermarkets in California in the summer of 2018. The program provided dollar-for-dollar point-of-purchase incentives with $10 or $20 maximum at participating farmers’ markets. We measured produce consumption by an NCI screener; food security by the USDA 6-item screener; and program satisfaction with open-ended questions asked of a subsample. The quantitative analysis involved multilevel linear and logistic regression, adjusted for covariates. Qualitative data were coded and analyzed thematically. Shoppers at farmers’ markets offering $20 incentives had significantly higher odds of purchasing most of their produce at farmers’ markets than shoppers at $10 incentive (3.1, CI: 1.1, 8.7) or comparison markets (8.1, CI 2.2, 29.7). Incentives were not associated with quantitatively measured produce consumption. Each additional incentive dollar was associated with reduced odds of food insecurity (0.987, CI 0.976, 0.999). Participants appreciated the program; supermarket shoppers lacked awareness. Point-of-purchase incentives are appreciated and underutilized. Further understanding of optimal program design for produce consumption and food security impact is needed. © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


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