Nutrition Subcommittee Reviews Food Incentive Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | February 3, 2016

Mollie Wilken | (202) 225-2171

Nutrition Subcommittee reviews food incentive programs

Today, Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-2), Chairwoman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, held a hearing to review incentive programs aimed at increasing low-income families’ purchasing power of fruits and vegetables. Members heard from a variety of witnesses on how incentive programs are increasing the consumption of healthier foods, along with the challenges and opportunities for these programs moving forward. 

While most healthy food incentive programs have stemmed from local communities, the federal government has made investments to further expand these projects. The Food, Nutrition and Conservation Act of 2008 authorized $20 million for a pilot project, known as the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) to determine if incentives provided to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients at the point-of-sale increase the purchase of fruits, vegetables or other nutritious foods at farmers markets. Building on that success, the 2014 Farm Bill authorized $100 million for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) Grant Program, which supports projects across the nation to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in SNAP at farmers markets, grocery stores, and through food banks by providing incentives at the point-of-purchase. These programs showcase the value and effectiveness of public-private partnerships.

“Today, malnutrition is more than just the quantity, but also the quality of food people are eating. Many low-income individuals are struggling to gain access to high-quality fruits and vegetables, which can lead to an increase in obesity and poor nutrition. Food incentive programs, along with public-private partnerships like the ones we have heard about today are helping to address these issues. No individual program can end hunger, poverty, or obesity. It will take collaboration within communities and a 360 degree approach to better serve American’s nutritional needs. Thank you to all of our witnesses for sharing with us the different strategies they are utilizing to encourage healthier food choices,” said Subcommittee Chairwoman Walorski. 

“At the committee, we have made a commitment to review not only SNAP, but all nutrition programs within our jurisdiction. These nutrition programs play key roles in addressing hunger and access to food, which is why it is essential we have these conversations to understand how these programs can best work together and complement each other. We have continued to hear about the importance of public-private partnerships in serving communities and helping them to meet their dietary needs. We will continue to evaluate ways to strengthen those partnerships so federal, state, and private sector programs are better equipped to serve Americans,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway. 

Written testimony provided by the witnesses from today’s hearing is linked below. Click here for more information, including Subcommittee Chairwoman Walorski's opening statement, and the archived webcast.

Witness List:

Panel I
Dr. Oran Hesterman, CEO, Fair Food Network, Ann Arbor, MI

Dr. Ashton Potter Wright, Bluegrass Farm to Table, Office of the Mayor, Lexington, KY

Ms. Kathleen Kiley, Crossroads Farmers Market shopper and current SNAP recipient, Washington, DC

Mr. Eric Cooper, President and CEO, San Antonio Food Bank, San Antonio, TX

Ms. Barbara Petee, Executive Director, The Root Cause Coalition, Washington, DC