WASHINGTON — A U.S. Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program pilot found recipients purchased more fresh produce when given an incentive to do so.


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The Healthy Initiatives Pilot, which took place in Hampden, Mass., from November 2011 to December 2012, credited SNAP recipients 30 cents for every $1 they spent on fresh fruits and vegetables. HIP participants consumed an average of 25% more produce than those who did not receive an incentive.

Tom Vilsack"Although healthy foods aren't necessarily more expensive, many low income people face time and resource challenges when it comes to putting healthy food on the table that can make less healthy options seem more appealing," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. "The results of the Healthy Incentives Pilot demonstrate the clear impact that promoting nutritious food choices can have on improving the healthfulness of SNAP purchases."

The United Fresh Produce Association praised the results of the study.

“All of these programs are showing that incentives to low-income families work to promote fresh fruit and vegetable consumption,” Dr. Lorelei DiSogra, United Fresh vice president of nutrition and health, said in a statement.

“We are hopeful that this funding will be included in the final version of the 2013 Farm Bill and support the expansion of these incentives to thousands of low-income families.”

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