Home Industry News Dairy Legislation ‘Add Milk!’ Program Launches in Mother’s Nutritional Center Stores Across Southern California

‘Add Milk!’ Program Launches in Mother’s Nutritional Center Stores Across Southern California

A nutrition incentive program that helps low-income families purchase healthy fluid milk products is expanding to California. The Add Milk! program is being launched in grocery stores to provide a dollar-for-dollar match for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, when they purchase low-fat or non-fat milk. A community event held at Mother’s Nutritional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., marked the launch of the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive (HFMI) project, Add Milk!, at 78 participating Mother’s Nutritional Center grocery stores across Southern California. Representative Pete Aguilar (CA-33) was in attendance.

The Add Milk! program is made possible by a $3 million cooperative agreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences Hunger Solutions Institute (HSI) through a program named Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects. The HFMI pilot program was established as part of the 2018 Farm Bill to promote milk as part of a healthy, balanced diet consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Overall, Americans are consuming less milk. Low-fat milk is an important part of a healthy diet, and health researchers have warned these declines over time could have health impacts on future generations. Studies have shown that incentive programs, like Add Milk!, increase purchase and consumption of the incentivized food. HFMI pilot projects will be operating in more than 700 locations across 18 states by the end of 2024, and Congress recently appropriated an additional $3 million to expand the program to more stores and more locations in the coming years.

How It Works

The Add Milk! program provides an incentive to SNAP participants using CalFresh EBT to purchase healthy milk options. The participant receives a dollar-for-dollar match for every dollar spent on non-fat and low-fat (1%) milk products, including lactose-free options, to use for any CalFresh EBT eligible item. Participants can receive up to $10 in rewards per transaction.

The program is operating in all Mother’s Nutritional Center stores across Southern California. Find more information about Add Milk! in California, as well as a list of locations here.

“Our customers get more for their EBT dollars with this program, and any extra help goes a long way for these participants. It adds to their benefits to be rewarded for choosing to drink healthier milk and using those rewards to provide healthier foods for their families. We are honored to partner with Auburn University to make this incentive available for the CalFresh recipients in our communities,” shared Richard Flores, president of Mother’s Nutritional Center.

“This new program will make milk more affordable for working families in the Inland Empire, bring down grocery bills, and encourage healthy food options in our community,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar. “I’m excited that the Inland Empire was chosen to be the first region to launch the Add Milk Program.”

“Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive projects will allow more families to add nutritious milk to their meals. This is part of USDA’s broader efforts to support SNAP participants in healthy eating. Specifically, the goal of these projects is to promote milk as part of a healthy and balanced diet, consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,” said USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Cindy Long. “We are pleased that the Milk Incentive project will expand to hundreds of retailers and 17 states including Alabama, California, Georgia, and South Dakota under Auburn University’s management.”

“Nutrition incentive programs, like Add Milk, are important in helping SNAP households access healthy foods by not only providing financial incentives, but also by collaborating with local, independent retailers who already provide incredible customer service to SNAP households,” said Alicia Powers, managing director of Auburn’s Hunger Solutions Institute. “HSI is thrilled to collaborate with Mother’s Nutritional Center, a respected retailer in California known for their personalized shopping experience, locations in areas with limited food access, and appeal to a diverse customer base.”

“Expanding the SNAP Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects means greater access to affordable, nutritious dairy products for the most vulnerable Americans,” said Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association. “Consuming milk, along with its 13 essential nutrients, is linked to healthy immune function, hydration, cognition, mental health, bone health, and lower risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. During this time of high food costs and rising food insecurity, it’s critical we find ways to stretch the SNAP dollar further in support of the purchase of nutrient-dense foods.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Mother’s Nutritional Centers to help bring the Add Milk! Program to families in Southern California,” said Victor Gastelum, General Manager, Alta Dena Dairy. “This program is really important to local communities in this area, as milk plays a critical role in childhood nutrition, and we’re helping to ensure access to dairy for children and families who need it.”

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3.2 million jobs that generate $49 billion in direct wages and $794 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 most 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.

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