Effectiveness of mobile produce markets in increasing access and affordability of fruits and vegetables among low-income seniors

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Date of Original Version



Objective: Mobile produce markets (MPM) offering Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) incentive programmes have the potential to provide accessible and affordable fruits and vegetables (FV) to populations at risk of food insecurity. The objective of this study is to characterise the customer base of an MPM and describe their participation at twelve market sites serving low-income seniors. Design: In 2018, customers from an MPM in Rhode Island (RI) participated in a cross-sectional survey (n 330; 68 % response rate), which measured dietary patterns, food security and food shopping behaviours. We compared the shopping habits and market experiences of customers who currently received SNAP benefits with those who did not currently receive SNAP benefits. Setting: An MPM in RI which offers a 50 % discount for FV purchased with SNAP benefits. Participants: This study describes current market customers at twelve market sites serving low-income seniors. Results: Market customers were mostly low-income, female, over the age of 50 years and Hispanic/Latino. Most customers received SNAP benefits, and almost half were food insecure. In addition, three quarters of SNAP customers reported their SNAP benefits last longer since shopping at the markets. Mixed logistic regression models indicated that SNAP customers were more likely to report buying and eating more FV than non-SNAP customers. Conclusions: MPM are critical resources of affordable produce and have been successful in improving access to FV among individuals of low socio-economic status in RI. This case study can inform policy and programme recommendations for MPM and SNAP incentive programmes.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Public Health Nutrition