Options for delivering financial incentives to participants for purchasing targeted foods.
The diets of many low-income individuals, like the U.S. population overall, do not meet federal dietary guidelines dietary guidelines Cardiology A series of dietary recommendations from the Nutrition Committee of the Am Heart Assn, that promote cardiovascular health. See Caloric restriction, food pyramid, French paradox. . With new authority provided as part of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, the Food and Nutrition Service The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was established in August 8, 1969. FNS is the Federal agency responsible for administering the nation’s domestic nutrition assistance programs. at the U.S. Department of Agriculture will have an opportunity to develop and administer a pilot incentive program and to determine both its effects on participant purchasing and consumption patterns and the costs associated with such a program.
In fiscal year 2007, the Food Stamp Program The US Food Stamp Program is a federal assistance program that provides food to low income people living in the United States. Benefits are distributed by the individual states, but the program is administered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. provided about $30.4 billion in nutrition assistance benefits to 26.5 million individuals. Benefits are issued through electronic benefits transfer cards to purchase eligible foods at authorized retail stores. The Government Accountability Office The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress, and thus an agency in the Legislative Branch of the United States Government. was asked to identify what is known about the effectiveness of financial incentives and other approaches intended to increase the purchase of targeted foods.
The GAO says one of the numerous electronic options would be to add food benefits to current EBT EBT
See: Earnings Before Taxes cards or to a separate card on the basis of the amount that participants spend on targeted foods. Providing incentives for using existing EBT cards would build on the current checkout technology and process, and could require less time to complete transactions compared with using a separate card.