The Hunger Solutions Instituteat Auburn University, Faculty of Humanitieswas awarded nearly $3 million to lead the Healthy Liquid Milk Incentive Program for 116 retail locations in four states, including Alabama.
Auburn is the only entity to have received the 2022 Healthy Liquid Milk Incentive Award, or HFMI,. Funding from USDA, USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, or FNSis the latest in a long line of grants that the Auburn Hunger Solutions Institute, or HSI, has been tasked with administering since HSI’s inception a decade ago.
The HFMI program fits with HSI’s mission of tackling food insecurity at home and abroad, particularly making nutritious foods accessible to low-income Americans.
“While this award is a first for HSI, we have a proven track record of implementing effective and efficient incentive programs with incredibly innovative and independent retailers in Alabama,” said Alicia Powers, managing director of HSI. “HFMI will allow us to build on our success and expand into other countries and retailers, as well as healthy foods and beverages.
“We are pleased to lead this work for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA-FNS) and expand healthy food incentives for SNAP families across the United States.”
As a result of the 2018 Agriculture Act, HFMI uses incentives to encourage supplemental nutritional assistance program, or SNAP, participants to purchase and consume qualified milk as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
According to the USDA-FNS, liquid milk eligible for the incentive program includes all types of pasteurized cow’s milk that (1) is without flavor or sweeteners, (2) conforms to the latest nutritional recommendations, (3) is packaged in a liquid containing form, and (4) contains vitamins A. and D at levels consistent with FDA, state, and local standards for liquid milk.
After a trial run in Texas in 2020, the USDA-FNS is expanding the HFMI program in 2021 to include additional retailers in Texas and New Jersey.
said Michael Dykes, President and CEO of the International Dairy Food Association. Milk contributes 13 essential nutrients to the American diet, including high-quality protein, calcium, vitamin D and potassium, as well as health benefits including improved bone health and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
As we consider how to improve access to nutritious foods in line with the recently released Biden Harris Administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, these nutrition incentives are a positive model for promoting the health of children and adults participating in SNAP.”
This year, the USDA-FNS authorized HSI to work with six retailers in Alabama, California, Georgia, and South Dakota to implement the program at 116 locations, including those on federal Indian reservations, urban and rural areas and many locations in opportunity areas, or economically communities stricken.
All participating retailers currently serve SNAP families, and some account for more than 80% of their customers in SNAP families. These retailers are supermarkets, independent grocery stores, convenience stores, and innovative food store models.
Incentives range from the instant percentage discount to dollar-for-dollar matching for future milk purchases.
HSI’s history of providing timely, high-quality training and technical assistance as part of other funded projects makes it an ideal partner with USDA-FNS. HSI has developed customized training plans to support SNAP families, participating retailers and other partners in the successful mobility of HFMI.
“We are very proud and excited to see HSI’s research and outreach efforts to fight hunger nationwide,” said Susan Hubbard, Dean of the College of Humanities. “Alicia Powers and her team, through strong partnerships and relationship building, continue to set higher standards each year, finding innovative solutions to end food insecurity in Alabama and across the country.”
The USDA-FNS has found success with previous incentive programs, which have been shown to influence household purchasing and dietary decisions. Health Incentive Pilot It found that SNAP participants who received incentives to buy fruits and vegetables consumed 26% more fruits and vegetables per day than those who did not receive an incentive.
The Health Incentive Pilot Program was a precursor to the Food Insecurity and Nutrition Incentive Grant Program, now called Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program, or GusNIP. It is managed by the FNS and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and supports projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among SNAP beneficiaries.
HSI became the chief financial officer from GusNIP last fall, partnering with Alabama farmers, farmers markets and independent grocers, to ensure Alabama residents have access to healthy, fresh foods.
Alabama retailers have received GusNIP funding for years, but this was the first time the program management had worked within the state.
Since its founding in 2012, HSI has championed the End Child Hunger in Alabama campaign, the United Presidents and Universities Fighting Hunger in the World, working to seek solutions to reduce food insecurity in Alabama, across the country and around the world.
USDA – FNS manages 15 Nutritional assistance programs Which takes advantage of the abundance of American agriculture to ensure that children, low-income individuals, and families have nutritious food to eat. FNS is also involved in the development ofDietary Guidelines for Americanswhich provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.
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