Stretch your SNAP: Stakeholder perspectives of a novel benefits program to enhance diet quality

Danyel I. Smith, Kristina L. Tatum, Lucie Lefbom, Bonnie Moore, Rick Barnard, Lisa Harnack, Brenda Foster, Melanie K. Bean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Families enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) report persistent barriers to purchasing nutritious foods. This mixed-methods study explored SNAP users’ food and beverage purchasing patterns and perspectives regarding potential modifications to SNAP to inform the design of SNAP+, a healthy incentive program to increase fruit and vegetable (FV) and decrease sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) purchases. Methods: Participants were recruited through a non-profit organizational network to participate in an online survey. Survey measures included: SNAP usage patterns, meal/shopping patterns, and perceptions of potential changes to SNAP. A subset (N = 28) was invited to participate in an interview to further explore these domains. Frequencies were calculated to explore trends in quantitative data, with thematic analysis applied to qualitative data. Results: Participants (N = 278) identified as female (81.0 %), head of household (90.8 %) and mothers (70.5 %), with most (66.5 %) using SNAP ≥ 1 year. Most spend >$15 of SNAP (87.1 %) and >$15 of non-SNAP (60.8 %) dollars on FVs/month. Respondents spend <$5 of SNAP (34.2 %) and non-SNAP (47.5 %) dollars on SSBs/month. Factors shaping purchasing behaviors included: cost (71.6 %), health (80.2 %) and avoiding waste (73.0 %). Inflation and existing purchasing patterns motivated interest in potentially enrolling in SNAP +. Diminished autonomy and a need to reallocate other funds to purchase SSBs were identified as enrollment deterrents. Conclusion: SNAP users were generally receptive to modifications that would pair FV incentives with SSB restrictions, yet strategies to maintain autonomy are needed. Results can inform the design of SNAP + to enhance its potential as strategy to positively shape dietary intake patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102676
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
Volume40
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s)

Keywords

  • Food policy
  • Fruit and vegetable intake
  • Incentives
  • Nutrition insecurity
  • SNAP
  • Sugar-sweetened beverage intake

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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