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P064 The University of Arizona's SNAP-Ed Evaluated the Effect of Unlimited Double-Up SNAP Dollars at a Farmers’ Markets Before and During COVID

      Background

      At farmers’ markets, the SNAP dollars are doubled, up to $20, to incentivize the purchase of produce through the Double Up Food Bucks Arizona (DFBA) program. In 2020, during COVID, the $20 DFBA limit was removed.

      Objective

      To determine the effectiveness of unlimited DFBA in increasing DFBA transactions, sales, and redemptions at one Heirloom Farmers Market in Pima County.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      Before shopping, customers provided market staff their Electronic Benefits Transfer card, which was swiped through the farmers’ market Point of Sale machine with a predetermined dollar amount. The SNAP dollars and an equal value of DFBA were given back to the customer as scrip, the market's currency, to be spent on produce.
      The DFBA transactions, sales, and redemptions were recorded by market staff before (March 19, 2019 - March 7, 2020) and during (March 22, 2020 - December 20, 2020) COVID. The DFBA transactions were the number of instances DFBA were given to SNAP farmers’ market customers. The DFBA sales indicated the total number of DFBA dollars that were distributed at the farmers’ market. The DFBA redemptions were the DFBA dollars that were spent on produce at vendor booths.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Independent sample t tests were performed on normally distributed data from before (2019) and during (2020) COVID to test for an association between DFBA transactions (before: x̅ = 16.38, SD = 5.98; during: x̅ = 31.46, SD = 13.04), sales (before: x̅ = $316.57, SD = $159.08; during: x̅ = $1196.45, SD = $549.36), and redemptions (before: x̅ = $281.33, SD = $92.77; during: x̅ = $962.95, SD = $334.07).

      Results

      Results demonstrate that DFBA transactions, sales, and redemptions, significantly (P < 0.001) increased when the DFBA limit was removed.

      Conclusions

      Unlimited DFBA increased DFBA transactions, sales, and redemptions during COVID. These findings indicate that by removing the DFBA limit, produce purchases, by SNAP customers, increased.

      Funding

      Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education

      SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

      Supplementary data related to this article can be found at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2022.04.104.

      Appendix. SUPPLEMENTARY DATA