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Making Fruits and Vegetables More Affordable

Study of USDA Pilot Program Part of New “Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy” Article

In a world where “what’s easiest” often takes priority over “what’s healthiest”, people frequently forgo fruits and vegetables, especially if the cost becomes too much.

But what if that cost went down as an incentive to shop for fresh produce?

The United States Department of Agriculture launched a pilot program to do just that; finding a new way to make fruits and vegetables more affordable for people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“No category of Americans is eating well in recent years and this could be especially helpful for people on a tight budget,” said Parke Wilde of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. He is the author of “Explaining the Impact of USDA’s Healthy Incentives Pilot on Different Spending Outcomes.” This paper appears in the latest issue of “Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy.”

The Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) was conducted by Abt Associates in 55,000 SNAP households in Massachusetts, but Wilde says other programs are starting to pop up and the success could spread even more.

“I imagine policy makers will roll this out nationally,” Wilde said. “Hopefully this will lead to an interesting conversation about making this available to more people.”

Click here to access the complete paper and results. To schedule an interview with Professor Wilde, please contact Jay Saunders in the AAEA business office.

Contact: Allison Scheetz
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