When Given an Incentive to Encourage Healthy Eating, Most SNAP Participants Would Purchase More Milk, Yogurt and Cheese

WASHINGTON, September 23, 2022—As the White House spurs a national conversation with its Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health next week, participants of federal nutrition programs are making their voices heard in a new Morning Consult national tracking poll commissioned by the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese are considered very nutritious and affordable among people who participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Importantly, polled participants of federal nutrition programs would purchase more dairy when given a discount or incentive to encourage healthy eating.

Americans’ growing affinity for dairy products extends to those who are in the most need. Nine-in-ten voters with children in public schools who participate in federal nutrition programs say they typically purchase milk (93%) and cheese (91%), while three quarters say they typically purchase yogurt (77%). Three-quarters of these nutrition program beneficiaries also consider nutritious dairy products like milk (73%), yogurt (78%), and cheese (74%) affordable at the grocery store.

Additionally, more than half of SNAP program beneficiaries polled indicate they would use a 50 percent discount to buy more milk (54%), yogurt (49%), and cheese (59%).

The new polling was completed just days before the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health—a high-profile event hosted by the Biden-Harris Administration to examine the role of the federal government in ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity by 2030. IDFA has suggested in recent months that a national dairy incentive program for SNAP program beneficiaries would greatly improve access to nutritious dairy products that are considered underconsumed by Americans in the federal 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans report. IDFA has submitted several sets of comments to the White House encouraging the expansion of nutrition incentive programs that incorporate healthy dairy options.

“This new polling data highlights just how impactful a national dairy incentive program would be for our nation’s most nutritionally insecure people,” said IDFA President and CEO Michael Dykes, D.V.M. “IDFA and our members are committed to ending hunger and malnutrition while improving health outcomes and reducing diet-related chronic diseases by making it easier for all Americans to access healthy, affordable foods, including nutritious dairy products. Ahead of the White House Conference, we urge the Biden-Harris Administration to support a national dairy incentive program within SNAP that offers affordable, nutritious dairy products to those most in need.”

In the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress authorized the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive Projects (HFMIP) pilot program to explore the best means of incentivizing SNAP participants to purchase fluid milk. Since then, USDA has worked with the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty to stand up HFMIP projects in New Jersey and Texas, with plans to expand to 5 additional states and more than 350 stores in 2023.

“The SNAP Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive Projects program is a growing success story that should be celebrated at the White House Conference,” said Dykes.

The poll was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of IDFA. The national poll was conducted on September 1-6, 2022, among a sample of 1,666 Registered Voters with Children in Public Schools, including 709 voters that participate in at least one federal nutrition feeding program. Interviews were conducted online. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

To read the results of the survey, visit here. Additional results from the poll will be released in the coming weeks.

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3.3 million jobs that generate $41.6 billion in direct wages and $753 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.

IDFA Media Contact

Matt Herrick

Senior Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications