Food insecurity affects tens of millions of Americans, or about 14 percent of all households. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is designed to make things a little easier, offering economic benefits to low-income individuals and families. But as we know, healthy food tends to be more expensive and those struggling to put food on the table - or make trade offs between food, medicine or other expenses - may forego nutritious options for more affordable (and sometimes less healthy) foods.
One program, launched this week, is designed to help shift this imbalance. Fresh Savings, announced at a Kroger supermarket in Memphis, offers incentives for SNAP recipients to choose fresh fruits and vegetables. As part of USDA's Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program, Fresh Savings is a collaboration between USDA, the AARP Foundation and United Healthcare. The program will be available in select Kroger stores and farmer's markets in both Mississippi and Tennessee, two states with food insecurity rates above the national average.
It works like this: when a SNAP participant spends $10 on fresh fruits and veggies using his/her SNAP EBT card, they then get a coupon for half off fresh fruits and veggies the next time they go shopping. It's especially important for older adults and as Rita Johnson-Mills of United Healthcare said, "We have so many seniors here that we want to keep healthy. They also are secondary care-givers, sometimes first primary care-givers to so many children, and they can model that behavior of fresh fruits and vegetables."
Kudos to these partners for a terrific program.
Fresh Savings is offered at 18 Kroger stores and Farmers Markets in Tennessee including the Kroger in Raleigh.