While dairy products are repeatedly recommended by the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) as a core component of a healthy eating pattern, the DGA also highlights that 90% of Americans do not consume enough milk and other nutritious dairy products. New legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate seeks to address this significant gap by increasing access to nutritious dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt and other cultured dairy products among participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
The Dairy Nutrition Incentives Program Act of 2023, introduced by U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), would provide SNAP participants with a dollar-for-dollar match for the purchase of nutritious dairy products. The program would expand the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive Projects (HFMI)—a 2018 Farm Bill program currently testing best practices for incentivizing milk purchases among SNAP beneficiaries—to include additional nutritious dairy products like cheese and yogurt. The bill incorporates recommendations, observations, and evaluation findings from current HFMI projects, respectively from the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, Auburn University’s Hunger Solutions Institute, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) President and CEO Michael Dykes, D.V.M., lauded the introduction of the Dairy Nutrition Incentives Program Act of 2023:
“In this time of chronic food insecurity, it is critical that we find new ways to improve access to foods that nourish and promote good health and well-being, particularly for our nation’s most food-insecure individuals. Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are nutritional powerhouses, packing essential nutrients that promote healthy immune function, hydration, cognition, mental health, bone health, and lower the risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Yet 90% of Americans do not consume enough nutritious dairy products, according to the 2020-2025 DGA report.
“The Dairy Nutrition Incentives Program seeks to improve this rate among our nation’s most vulnerable. The program would build on the early learnings of the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects to provide SNAP participants with incentives where and when they can be most effective for encouraging consumption of healthy dairy products. It would also ensure the program can continue to expand to additional areas of the country, particularly in areas of most need.
“IDFA applauds U.S. Sens. Klobuchar and Marshall for leading this effort to address rising food insecurity by increasing access to nutritious dairy products.”
Background on the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects
IDFA led the charge in the 2018 Farm Bill to create the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects (HFMI) and has since closely collaborated with USDA, the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, and Auburn University’s Hunger Solutions Institute to grow the projects. The Farm Bill authorized $20 million for the projects. For the past three fiscal years, Congress has increased funding to expand HFMI to more than 150 retail locations in Alabama, California, Georgia, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Texas by the end of 2023. In total, $9 million has been appropriated to Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects, including $4 million in the FY2023 appropriations bill that will be awarded this year to continue expanding projects around the country.
To learn more about the health benefits of milk, cheese and yogurt, visit www.idfa.org/dairynourishes.
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.