In a strong show of support for healthy nutrition incentive programs, today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a significant expansion of the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects (HFMIP), a pilot program that provides a dollar-for-dollar match to participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) when they purchase healthy fluid milk options at qualifying food retail outlets.
USDA awarded $3 million in new funding to Auburn University’s Hunger Solutions Institute (HSI) to bring the program to SNAP beneficiaries in an additional four states and 116 retail outlets, including those on federal Indian Reservations, urban and rural areas and numerous locations in economically distressed communities. The Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty will continue to administer HFMIP pilot programs in 42 stores in Texas and New Jersey while Auburn’s Hunger Solutions Institute initiates additional pilot programs in Alabama, California, Georgia and South Dakota.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), led by President and CEO Michael Dykes, D.V.M., lauded the move, noting the important role healthy dairy incentives play in improving health outcomes for Americans and highlighting HSI’s strong background administering SNAP incentives for healthy fruits and vegetables. IDFA led the charge to create the HFMIP in the 2018 Farm Bill and has continued to closely collaborate with USDA on growing the effort. IDFA is a major proponent of incentivizing SNAP participants to purchase healthy dairy options to increase access to affordable, nutritious food and beverage options for food and nutrition insecure Americans.
“Expanding the SNAP Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects means greater access to affordable, nutritious dairy products for the most vulnerable Americans,” said Dykes. “IDFA congratulates Auburn’s Hunger Solutions Institute and its retail partners on this grant, and we are certain HSI’s expertise with the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program for fruits and vegetables will prove beneficial to finding the best ways for the SNAP program to incentivize nutritious dairy products. We commit to support HSI’s work and the work of the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty to make HFMIP pilots successful in more than 150 stores operating the program across 6 states in 2023.
“The latest federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans report showed that more than 90% of Americans do not consume enough dairy products to meet daily nutrition requirements, impeding positive health outcomes for Americans of all ages. Dairy foods makers are committed to playing a proactive role in mitigating underconsumption, especially for our nation’s most vulnerable and underserved individuals. We believe a stronger focus on nutrition incentives like those provided through HFMIP, alongside proper education and outreach, will improve access to affordable, nutritious dairy foods like milk, yogurt and cheese.
“IDFA has suggested in recent months that the White House support expanding HFMIP to become a national dairy incentive program that incorporates a wider variety of healthy, affordable dairy products that improve health outcomes for Americans. We know such a program would work. SNAP beneficiaries rely on nutritious, affordable dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese to nourish their families. They believethese products to be affordable and healthy, and, given a 50 percent discount, would purchase more of these products.
“IDFA is grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration for its continued commitment to HFMIP as an integral part of its overall Nutrition Strategy. We stand ready to support USDA and the Auburn Hunger Solutions Institute in the implementation of the expanded HFMIP program, and we urge the Administration to work with Congress to create a national dairy incentive program in the next Farm Bill.”
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.