The USDA has expanded healthy food access for SNAP households throughout the United States with its Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has significantly expanded the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects (HFMIP), a pilot program that provides a dollar-for-dollar match to participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) when they purchase healthy fluid milk options at qualifying food retail outlets. The agency awarded $3 million in new funding to the Hunger Solutions Institute, Alabama’s Auburn University College of Human Sciences, to bring the program to SNAP beneficiaries in an additional four states and 116 retail outlets, including those on federal Indian reservations, urban and rural areas, and numerous locations in economically distressed communities.
The HFMI program fits the Hunger Solutions Institutemission of addressing food insecurity at home and abroad, particularly making nutritious foods more accessible for low-income Americans.
USDA-FNS authorized Hunger Solutions Institute to work with six retailers in Alabama, California, Georgia and South Dakota to implement the program at 116 locations. All participating retailers currently serve SNAP households, some with more than 80% of their customers representing SNAP households. These retailers are supermarkets, independent grocery stores, convenience stores and innovative food store models.
Fluid milk qualifying for the incentive program includes all varieties of pasteurized cow’s milk that (1) is without flavoring or sweeteners, (2) is consistent with the most recent dietary recommendations, (3) is packaged in liquid form, and (4) contains vitamins A and D at levels consistent with the Food and Drug Administration, state, and local standards for fluid milk.
Incentives range from an immediate percentage-off discount to a dollar-for-dollar match for a future milk purchase.
The Washington D.C.-based International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), led by President and CEO Michael Dykes, D.V.M., lauded the move, noting the important role that healthy dairy incentives play in improving health outcomes for Americans. IDFA led the charge to create the HFMIP in the 2018 Farm Bill and has continued to closely collaborate with USDA on growing the effort. IDFA is a major proponent of incentivizing SNAP participants to purchase healthy dairy options to increase access to affordable, nutritious food and beverage options for food- and nutrition-insecure Americans.
“Expanding the SNAP Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects means greater access to affordable, nutritious dairy products for the most vulnerable Americans,” said Dykes. “IDFA congratulates Auburn’s Hunger Solutions Institute and its retail partners on this grant, and we are certain HSI’s expertise with the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program for fruits and vegetables will prove beneficial to finding the best ways for the SNAP program to incentivize nutritious dairy products.”