Fact Sheet: One Year of FNS Advancing Goals of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health
In September 2022, in support of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service released “Leveraging the White House Conference to Promote and Elevate Nutrition Security: The Role of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service” to highlight ways the agency is supporting — and will continue to support — President Biden’s goal to end hunger, reduce diet-related diseases by improving healthy eating and physical activity, and eliminate disparities surrounding them by 2030. One year later, we’re celebrating progress made toward advancing food and nutrition security and looking ahead to additional efforts on the horizon.
Pillar 1: Improve Food Access and Affordability
End hunger by making it easier for everyone — including individuals in urban, suburban, rural, and tribal communities, and territories — to access and afford food.
- Available for the first time in summer 2023, most states across the country leveraged a new option in USDA’s summer meal programs, which allows meals to be offered “to go” or via delivery in rural areas where onsite meal service is a barrier to access. This new option could potentially serve up to 8 million children in rural areas.
- FNS is working closely with its state and tribal partners to stand up a new Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer Program that provides summer grocery benefits to families whose children are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. We estimate that when fully implemented, the program could serve more than 30 million children and provide more than $3.5 billion in benefits each year.
- Online shopping with SNAP benefits is now available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with nearly 4 million SNAP households shopping online in August 2023. FNS is working toward offering the same in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, also known as WIC, providing funding and technical assistance to support state agencies and rulemaking to remove regulatory barriers.
- FNS launched a mobile payment pilot in five states, working towards giving participants the ability to redeem benefits through a mobile device. Furthermore, through the National Association of Farmers Market Nutrition Program’s MarketLink’s Online SNAP solution, FNS is helping small farmers accept electronic SNAP benefits, which attracts new SNAP customers and provides them with better access to fresh, locally grown produce.
- FNS is modernizing WIC and the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program through a number of initiatives designed to increase participation, retention, and benefit redemption and advance equity.
- Through expanding the availability of the Community Eligibility Provision — a simplified meal service option that relies on existing data rather than collecting individual family applications — FNS is giving more schools in high-need areas the option to serve breakfast and lunch to all students at no cost.
- Through annual inflation adjustments and Supply Chain Assistance funds, FNS is providing schools 50 cents more per lunch and 18 cents more per breakfast for school year 2023-24, compared to the previous school year’s base reimbursement rates.
- FNS increased our support to schools for serving traditional Indigenous foods across the child nutrition programs. For example, a new website aggregates all the related technical assistance resources while updates to the Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs make it easier to include Indigenous foods in meals.
- FNS awarded an additional $30 million in grant funds to help school districts across the country purchase equipment needed to prepare and serve nutritious meals that meet USDA’s nutrition requirements and make it easier for schools to prepare fresh foods.
- For fiscal year 2023, FNS awarded nearly $11 million to 103 projects across the country under the Patrick Leahy Farm to School Grant Program. These investments will help 1.2 million children from nearly 3,000 schools across 40 states and Guam eat more tasty, nutritious foods, while supporting farmers and producers in their local and regional communities.
- FNS awarded nearly $100 million in The Emergency Food Assistance Program Reach and Resiliency grants to expand the program’s reach in underserved remote, rural, tribal, and/or low-income areas.
- FNS awarded $10 million to support Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations Self-Determination Demonstration Projects, providing 16 tribal nations the ability to enter into their own contracts for some of the foods offered in the program to incorporate more traditional foods that better align with dietary preferences.
- FNS awarded $9.4 million in Team Nutrition Grants to support schools and states in nutrition education efforts to encourage healthy eating among children in grades pre-K through 12.
- FNS partnered with tribes on enhancements to the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, or FDPIR, food package. Effective Sept. 1, 2023, these improvements included changes such as increasing vegetables by nearly 40%, doubling the amount of eggs, and adding bison stew meat as an option.
Pillar 2: Integrate Nutrition and Health
Prioritize the role of nutrition and food security in overall health — including disease prevention and management — and ensure that our health care system addresses the nutrition needs of all people.
- FNS is working with USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and its network of Minority Serving Institutions to create a national workforce strategy for WIC to better support WIC staff and ensure skilled and culturally relevant care for WIC families.
- FNS hosted its first National Nutrition Security and Healthcare Summit weeks after the historic White House Conference, drawing more than 200 health care, federal, and community leader attendees. In the months since, FNS has been working with ProMedica and The Root Cause Coalition on their seven regional summits. Collectively, these summits have identified ways to strengthen intersections between federal nutrition assistance programs and the health care sector.
Pillar 3: Empower all Consumers to Make and Have Access to Healthy Choices
Foster environments that enable all people to easily make informed, healthy choices, increase access to healthy food, encourage healthy workplace and school policies, and invest in public education campaigns that are culturally appropriate and resonate with specific communities.
- FNS proposed updates to the school nutrition standards based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and robust stakeholder input. Proposed changes included gradually reducing added sugars and sodium and emphasizing products that are primarily whole grain. The agency is currently reviewing over 136,000 public comments received in response to the proposed rule and expects to publish a final rule in 2024. Changes will be phased in over time to best support healthy kids.
- FNS proposed comprehensive, science-based revisions to the WIC food packages to support access to healthy foods that align with the latest nutrition science, increase access to culturally appropriate foods, and promote breastfeeding goals.
- FNS is promoting healthy eating at all life stages through SNAP healthy incentive programs like the Electronic Healthy Incentives Pilot and Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive projects. The primary goal of eHIP is to more efficiently provide incentives to SNAP participants purchasing nutritious foods through electronic incentive delivery. The fiscal year 2023 Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive grant also encourages electronic incentive delivery to increase incentive redemption and reach.
- FNS awarded nearly $30 million in grants to 264 small and/or rural school districts across 44 states and the District of Columbia, reaching students in some of our nation’s highest need schools and helping them modernize their food service operations and provide more nutritious meals.
- FNS awarded $50 million in cooperative agreements to four organizations that will work to support local and regional food systems, expand school food procurement pathways, engage supporting organizations, and balance a regional and national focus for school food system transformation. Cooperators will be offering sub-grants beginning in early fiscal year 2024.
- FNS is centralizing consumer information to support healthy shopping and meal prep for income-eligible households in the Shop Simple with MyPlate app and recently expanded MyPlate’s social media presence to Instagram to reach more audiences with healthy eating tips and information.
- FNS provided trainings for regional and state partners on coalition-building and SNAP Education’s — commonly known as SNAP-Ed — role in State Nutrition Action Councils.
- FNS’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion continues to work with colleagues at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2025-2030. CNPP’s expertise in nutrition science and consumer research is further leveraged to translate the DGA into actionable consumer messages, content, and tools to serve the public, all housed under MyPlate.
- FNS continues to invest approximately $1 billion per year on nutrition education and promotion efforts across all its programs, including SNAP-Ed, WIC nutrition education and counseling, Team Nutrition, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, and MyPlate.
- FNS launched a redesigned SNAP-Ed Connection website to better support nutrition education programs, promote best practice sharing, and improve access to evidence-based nutrition materials. The site also includes budget friendly and culturally appropriate recipes and shares information on SNAP-Ed impacts.
- FNS completed an evaluation of equity in SNAP-Ed service delivery, which provided actionable recommendations that are being used to inform resource development, trainings, and technical assistance to improve program access for historically underserved populations.
Pillar 4: Support Physical Activity for All
Make it easier for people to be more physically active—in part by ensuring that everyone has access to safe places to be active—increase awareness of the benefits of physical activity, and conduct research on and measure physical activity.
- FNS continues to share physical activity resources on the SNAP-Ed Connection website and the SNAP-Ed e-bulletins. The website provides tips and information from federal, state, and local agencies and allows users to search the redesigned SNAP-Ed Library for educational materials and success stories
Pillar 5: Enhance Nutrition and Food Security Research
Improve nutrition metrics, data collection, and research to inform nutrition and food security policy, particularly on issues of equity, access, and disparities.
- FNS continues to improve nutrition metrics, data collection, and research to inform nutrition and food security policy, particularly on issues of equity, access, and disparities.
- FNS recently published findings from several research efforts, on topics including:
- SNAP mobile communication strategies, which identified best practices among state agencies that used mobile technology to help participants to access program information.
- Child nutrition program operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, which identified challenges and opportunities school food authorities encountered at the start of the pandemic.
- Early implementation of the SNAP online purchasing pilot.
- How state agencies provide oversight of the Summer Food Service Program.
- FNS is currently studying or preparing to study:
- The impact of recent SNAP benefit adjustments.
- WIC feeding practices and participant experiences over time, starting at birth.
- SNAP households’ food purchases, dietary intake, use of mobile or online payments, and use of SNAP-Ed on an annual basis over time.
- Changes to school meal nutrition standards and costs of school meals. In addition, FNS will study school food procurement distribution issues to better understand schools’ barriers and challenges.
- The FDPIR 638 Self-Determination Project to identify successes, challenges, and lessons learned.
- The Commodity Supplemental Food Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, the emergency shelter and adult daycare components of the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and other historically understudied federal nutrition assistance programs.
- Several topics to inform the next reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, or TFP, include a study to understand if it is feasible to purchase healthy foods that meet dietary guidelines with SNAP benefits; a series of systematic reviews of various topics including food waste, scaling the TFP for different family sizes and types, and updated food price data; and studying alternative models to calculate the TFP.
- FNS is leveraging cooperative agreements to study:
- Barriers to equitable access and opportunities to expand participation in the child nutrition programs.
- State and local efforts to improve maternal morbidity and mortality through WIC.
- FNS recently published findings from several research efforts, on topics including:
To learn more about USDA’s nutrition security efforts, visit www.usda.gov/nutrition-security.