Food Spending Among Low-Income Consumers: the Effects of the SNAP Cycle and Seasonality on Purchases and Produce Incentive Use
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology
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The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides food assistance benefits to low-income households. Participants in SNAP face both a cyclical and seasonal struggle when it comes to maintaining enough food across month (Kuhn, 2015), and often the food purchased is of poor diet quality (Dimitri et al. 2016). Pairing SNAP with a nutrition incentive program may be one way to help improve outcomes for participants. One prominent nutrition incentive program is the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) administered by the USDA. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate findings from a GusNIP initiative in Alabama called “Double Up Food Bucks Alabama.” Our data includes SNAP transaction-level data from one participating retailer in 2021-2022. We use OLS to explore how SNAP spending changes across the month, and how a nutrition incentive program influences this spending. Our results show that household SNAP spending decreases across the month, and that nutrition incentive use increases across the month.