A Preliminary Evaluation of Virginia Fresh Match: Impacts and Demographic Considerations for Future Fruit and Vegetable Incentive Programs

Abstract

The purpose of this communication is to describe the preliminary evaluation of the Virginia Fresh Match (VFM) financial incentive program for fresh fruits and vegetables for Virginia Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program shoppers and to determine if there were differences in incentive outcomes by race. In this cross-sectional study, a questionnaire was administered to shoppers using Virginia Fresh Match incentives at participating farmers markets and community-based food retail outlets. Repeated measures ANOVAs were used to detect differences in fruit and vegetable consumption between demographic groups over time. Chi-square tests were used to determine if there were associations between race and perceived impact of VFM incentives on making food last and the attribution of VFM incentives to changes in fruit and vegetable consumption frequency. Frequency of fruit and vegetable intake was significantly higher during VFM incentive use, with a difference of 1.17 ± 0.07 and 1.07 ± 0.07 on a Likert scale measure, respectively (p ≤ 0.001). There were racial differences in assertions that VFM incentives helped food to last. VFM incentives were effective at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, but racial differences should be considered in the administration of VFM to avoid reinforcing systems or approaches that may contribute to disparities in food access and food security.

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Citation

Misyak, S.A.; Parker, M.K.; Ledlie Johnson, M.; Hedges, S.; Borst, E.; McNamara Best, M.; Hedrick, V.E. A Preliminary Evaluation of Virginia Fresh Match: Impacts and Demographic Considerations for Future Fruit and Vegetable Incentive Programs. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 4367.