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Ohio Produce Perks
Produce Perks is Ohio’s nutrition incentive program. It empowers SNAP recipients to purchase fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables from Ohio farmers’ markets and grocery stores across the state. The program provides a dollar-for-dollar match for shoppers using SNAP/EBT to buy fresh produce. The program operates at more than 100 locations.

In August 2018, the US Department of Agriculture awarded $2.27 million to Produce Perks Midwest to expand the Produce Perks program for the 1.4 million Ohioans who receive SNAP benefits.
Results from the pilot program are available in a PRCHN data brief. 

The PRCHN team, led by Dr. Darcy Freedman, is comprehensively evaluating various aspects of Produce Perks by capturing data and identifying opportunities for increased impact and program advancement. Through this project, they will strengthen the existing nutrition incentive programs and inform the development of new, state-of-the-art strategies to increase affordable, healthy food access for individuals and families across the state of Ohio. In addition to its ongoing evaluation of the program, the PRCHN’s work around Produce Perks includes case studies, cross-sectional surveys, and pragmatic trials.

Retail Case Studies
The retail case studies will investigate the core elements of health food incentive program implementation in diverse grocery retail sites in different geographic contexts. The goals of the retail case studies are to identify core elements that contribute to the successful implementation of nutrition incentive programs in the retail setting as well as the development and dissemination of an electronic toolkit describing best practices that can be used in states that want to implement similar programs in grocery stores. The team will begin three case studies (one independent retailer and two regional chains) in early 2019. Three more case studies will begin in early 2020.

Cross-Sectional Surveys
The goal of the cross-sectional surveys is to identify predictors of incentive use at both retail and direct-to-consumer (e.g., farmers’ markets) settings and to identify fruit and vegetable consumption among various program users and non-users within the different settings. 

Some of the questions the surveys will try to answer include:
  • What is the relationship between use of different health food incentive program models (e.g., Direct-to-Consumer, grocery store) on fruit and vegetable consumption among SNAP recipients?
  • What factors predict use of different healthy food incentive programs among SNAP recipients?
The PRCHN is drafting the survey and recruiting and training survey collectors. Data collection is scheduled to take place during 2019.