Improving fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income customers at farmers markets: Philly Food Bucks, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2011.Prev Chronic Dis. 2013 Oct 03; 10:E166.PC
We evaluated whether Philly Food Bucks, a bonus incentive program at farmers markets, is associated with increased fruit and vegetable consumption and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) sales at farmers markets in low-income areas.
A convenience sample of 662 customers at 22 farmers markets in low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was surveyed via face-to-face interviews. Questions addressed shopping characteristics, self-reported change in fruit and vegetable consumption, whether customers tried new fruits or vegetables, use of Philly Food Bucks, and demographic information. Market-level SNAP sales and Philly Food Bucks redemption data were also collected to monitor sales patterns.
Philly Food Bucks users were significantly more likely than nonusers to report increasing fruit and vegetable consumption (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.6-3.7; P < .001) and to report trying new fruits or vegetables (OR 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2-2.7; P = .006). At the market level, average SNAP sales more than doubled at farmers markets in low-income areas in the first 2 years of the Philly Food Bucks program. At the city's largest farmers market in a low-income area, the program was associated with an almost 5-fold higher increase in annual SNAP sales compared with baseline.
Results from this study demonstrate that a bonus incentive program tied to SNAP was associated with self-reported increases in fruit and vegetable consumption and increased SNAP sales at participating farmers markets in low-income communities. More research is warranted to evaluate the long-term impact of bonus incentives on farmers market use, dietary behaviors, and health outcomes.