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P106 Availability and Affordability of Yogurt in SNAP-Authorized Convenience Stores in Mississippi

      Background

      Many Mississippians are Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligible, face high rates of food insecurity, and often live in food deserts. Compared to national data, Mississippians were more likely to be obese and reported eating fewer fruits and vegetables. Increasing healthy food availability and affordability in SNAP-authorized convenience stores (CS) may improve Mississippians’ health and eating behaviors.

      Objective

      The study objective was to examine the availability and affordability of yogurt in SNAP-authorized CS across Mississippi.

      Study Design, Settings, Participants

      This cross-sectional study was conducted from January to February 2017. Stores were identified from the United States Department of Agriculture SNAP-authorized store list (n = 3585). Approximately the same proportion of stores from each county in Mississippi was surveyed to achieve a representative sample (n = 405). Stores were categorized by number of cash registers into: CS (n = 212), grocery stores (n = 154), and supermarkets (n = 39). Trained Mississippi State University Extension Service employees (Nutrition Educators and Extension Agents) and research team members collected data using a modified Nutrition Environment Measures Survey – Corner Store (NEMS-CS).

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      The outcome measure is the availability and affordability of yogurt in SNAP-authorized stores in Mississippi. Availability was measured by the percent of SNAP-authorized stores reported as carrying yogurt. Affordability was measured by the average price of an individually sold, single-serving size (≤ 6oz) container of yogurt in a CS.

      Results

      Approximately 16% (n = 36) of CS, 57% (n = 91) of grocery stores, and 89% (n = 36) of supermarkets carry any form of yogurt. The average price of an individually sold, single-serving size (≤ 6oz) container of yogurt in a convenience store is $0.97.

      Conclusion

      While yogurt is a relatively affordable snack, it is not readily available in SNAP-authorized CS in Mississippi. Policy efforts should be made to promote health by increasing the availability of yogurt and other healthy foods. These findings will be used to inform future studies and pilot interventions to increase food availability for Mississippi's SNAP participants.
      Funding: SNAP-Ed.

      Appendix. Supplementary data