Healthy Food Incentive Impacts on Direct-to-Consumer Sales: A Michigan Example

  • John Mann Michigan State University
  • Steve Miller Michigan State University
  • Jeff O’Hara U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service
  • Laura Goddeeris Michigan State University
  • Rich Pirog Michigan State University
  • Elissa Trumbull Fair Food Network
Keywords: Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Farmers Markets, Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) Sales, Economic Model

Abstract

Numerous interventions have been implemented at farmers markets across the United States in recent years in order to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) redemptions. These initiatives include ensuring that farmers markets have the technological capability of accepting SNAP and implementing financial incentive programs that provide matching benefits for the redemption of SNAP benefits. While a main objec­tive behind these initiatives is to increase revenue to direct marketing farmers, it is challenging to distinguish between the impacts of distinct inter­ventions. This shortcoming is a significant deter­rent in understanding how to effectively implement policies that enhance such objectives. We examine the impact of Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB), a prominent farmers market financial incentive pro­gram, on county-level direct-to-consumer (DTC) agricultural sales in Michigan. In our models, we distinguish between counties with farmers markets that do not accept SNAP, counties with markets that accept SNAP but not DUFB, and counties with markets that accept DUFB. We also estimate separate models that allow us to distinguish between the presence and magnitude of DUFB on county-level sales. We find that offering DUFB and accepting SNAP benefits were each associated with positive and statistically significant increases in direct marketing sales, and the magnitude of the DUFB coefficient was greater than the SNAP coefficient. Our preliminary evidence from coeffi­cient magnitudes also suggests that the county-level increase in direct sales exceeded the benefit levels.

Author Biographies

John Mann, Michigan State University
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University; 446 West Circle Drive, Room 87; East Lansing, MI 48824
Steve Miller, Michigan State University
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University
Jeff O’Hara, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, Washington, DC
Laura Goddeeris, Michigan State University
Department of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University
Rich Pirog, Michigan State University
Department of Community Sustainability, Michigan State University
Elissa Trumbull, Fair Food Network
Fair Food Network
Published
2018-03-17
How to Cite
Mann, J., Miller, S., O’Hara, J., Goddeeris, L., Pirog, R., & Trumbull, E. (2018). Healthy Food Incentive Impacts on Direct-to-Consumer Sales: A Michigan Example. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 8(1), 97-112. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2018.081.006