WASHINGTON —The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) highlights that 90% of Americans do not consume enough milk and other nutritious dairy products. Bipartisan legislation introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate seeks to address this significant gap by increasing access to nutritious dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt and other cultured dairy products among participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
The Dairy Nutrition Incentives Program Act of 2023 (H.R.5099), introduced by U.S. Reps. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Nick Langworthy (R-N.Y.), would provide SNAP participants with a dollar-for-dollar match for the purchase of nutritious dairy products. The Senate version (S.1474) was introduced in May by U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.). The dairy incentive program would expand the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive (HFMI) projects—a 2018 Farm Bill program currently testing best practices for incentivizing milk purchases among SNAP beneficiaries—to include whole and reduced-fat milk as well as additional nutritious dairy products like cheese and yogurt. The bill incorporates recommendations, observations, and evaluation findings from current HFMI projects, respectively from the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, Auburn University’s Hunger Solutions Institute, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) President and CEO Michael Dykes, D.V.M., lauded the introduction of the Dairy Nutrition Incentives Program Act of 2023:
“In this time of chronic food insecurity, it is critical that we find new ways to improve access to foods that nourish and promote good health and well-being, particularly for our nation’s most food-insecure individuals. Dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurt are nutritional powerhouses, packing essential nutrients that promote healthy immune function, hydration, cognition, mental health, bone health, and lower the risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Yet 90% of Americans do not consume enough nutritious dairy products, according to the 2020-2025 DGA report.
“The Dairy Nutrition Incentives Program builds on the early learnings of the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects to provide SNAP participants with incentives to encourage consumption of healthy dairy products. It would also ensure the program can continue to expand to additional areas of the country, particularly in areas of most need.
“IDFA applauds U.S. Reps. Costa and Langworthy for leading this effort to address rising food insecurity by increasing access to nutritious dairy products.”
Background on the SNAP nutrition incentives and the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Projects
SNAP nutrition incentive programs like HFMI and the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) encourage people participating in SNAP to purchase healthy, nutrient-dense foods by providing a coupon, discount, gift card, or bonus food item.
IDFA led the charge in the 2018 Farm Bill to create HFMI and has since closely collaborated with USDA, the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty, and Auburn University’s Hunger Solutions Institute to grow the projects. The Farm Bill authorized $20 million for the projects. Since then, Congress has increasingly appropriated funding to launch and expand HFMI to more approximately 150 retail locations in Alabama, California, Georgia, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Texas with hundreds more to be planned by the end of 2023. In total, $9 million has been appropriated to HFMI projects, including $4 million in the FY2023 appropriations bill that will be awarded this year to continue expanding projects around the country. IDFA is advocating for additional funds to be appropriated for the next fiscal year.
To learn more about the health benefits of milk, cheese and yogurt, visit www.idfa.org/dairynourishes.
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3.2 million jobs that generate $49 billion in direct wages and $794 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent most of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.