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FNS Strengthens Commitment to Nutrition Security and Equity, Takes Action to Address Supply Chain and Inflation

Food and Nutrition Service highlights from year two of the Biden-Harris administration

Press Release
Release No.
FNS 003.23
Contact: FNS Press Team

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2023 – USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service today recognized significant progress made across the nation’s nutrition assistance programs and broader nutrition security efforts during the Biden-Harris administration’s second year in office. As President Biden prepares for the 2023 State of the Union address, he will reflect on last year’s progress and forge ahead in the fight against hunger and increase access to nutritious foods for all Americans by supporting vital FNS programs that assist families in navigating the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, such as high food costs and supply shortages.

“The Food and Nutrition Service, alongside our devoted partners at the state, local, tribal, and territorial level, worked hard last year to lift up families through strengthened food programs,” said Stacy Dean, deputy under secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “In 2022, FNS provided additional resources to WIC and school meal programs, as well as food banks, in an effort to meet the needs of the millions of Americans who use our programs. Additionally, we expanded online shopping for SNAP participants, equipped schools with upgraded tools, and boosted local agriculture.”

Highlights include:

Prioritizing nutrition security for all
In March 2022, Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA Actions on Nutrition Security, which summarized how USDA and, in particular, FNS is working to advance nutrition security. These efforts align with the goals in the Biden-Harris administration’s National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health released for the September 2022 historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. FNS also issued a report highlighting the agency’s role in contributing to those goals by emphasizing the connection between food insecurity and diet-related diseases and prioritizing equitable access to healthy, affordable food.

In October, the agency hosted Come to the Table: USDA’s National Nutrition Security and Healthcare Summit, bringing together healthcare, federal and community leaders with a shared goal of ensuring all Americans have access to nutritious foods that support good health. In January, FNS participated in the first of seven regional summits to further those efforts.

Improving access through program modernization
FNS is committed to modernizing its nutrition assistance programs to best meet the needs of today’s participants and provide them with an improved customer experience. In 2022, FNS continued to expand SNAP online shopping, giving millions of families the opportunity to shop from home like many non-SNAP customers have been doing for years. As of December 2022, 181 retailers – representing thousands of actual stores – were participating. However, recognizing some retailers, especially smaller ones, still face technical challenges implementing online shopping, FNS awarded a $5 million grant to help these businesses get up and running.

Similarly, FNS made major investments in modernizing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, including awarding more than $50 million in grants designed to better reach more eligible families, reduce disparities in program delivery, and provide a convenient and equitable experience for all.

Ensuring babies and kids have access to the nutrition they need
FNS is committed to promoting nutrition security for children, starting them on the path to a healthy, thriving future. For summer 2022, FNS worked closely with 52 states and territories to continue providing Pandemic-EBT benefits to kids in low-income households to help cover the costs of meals they would otherwise receive at school or in child care.

FNS also announced the Healthy Meals Incentives initiative, a $100 million investment to recognize schools providing exceptionally nutritious meals, support small and rural schools in meeting nutrition standards, and partner with industry to develop healthy and tasty products for school meals. The agency also provided $80 million dollars for schools to invest in upgraded food service equipment that facilitates serving nutritious meals, as well as more than $70 million in Farm to School Grants for projects that connect kids with local agriculture. By helping schools address barriers such as staffing shortages, increased food costs, outdated kitchen equipment, and lack of physical space, this initiative will ensure that children continue to be served nutritious, fresh meals while they learn.

When the infant formula recall and related shortages strained families nationwide, FNS took immediate action. FNS worked with formula manufacturers and states to provide flexibilities that helped WIC participants get the formula they needed – and helped cover cost differences for states to make this possible. FNS also supported Operation Fly Formula to boost the infant formula supply.

Combating food inflation and strengthening food systems
FNS took many actions to help program partners and participants cope with inflation and the rising cost of food, while strengthening the nation’s food systems. FNS provided extensive financial support for the emergency food system, including nearly $1 billion for additional food purchases to help families in need. The agency also introduced a new $100 million Reach and Resiliency grant program to strengthen and expand The Emergency Food Assistance Program to ensure it reaches remote, rural, tribal and other low-income areas that face persistent poverty and inequality.

By providing a more than 25 percent increase to child nutrition program funding, FNS took action to ensure child nutrition programs could continue serving nutritious meals amid high food costs. This increase included nearly $2.5 billion to schools to purchase American-grown food and an increase to the per-meal reimbursement rate that is expected to pump an estimated $4.3 billion more into child nutrition programs nationwide.

FNS also supported two new USDA programs designed to provide additional food to food banks and schools in a way that strengthens regional food systems by purchasing locally grown food products from underserved producers and distributing it to communities in need of nutritional support.

FNS advanced several other priorities throughout 2022, including supporting workforce development in SNAP and WIC to improve employment opportunities and culturally relevant care for all families; strengthening program integrity through a system designed to prevent duplicate enrollment in SNAP; supporting tribal sovereignty through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations Self-Determination Demonstration Projects; and more. FNS looks forward to continuing this momentum in collaboration with our partners, throughout the third year of the administration.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service works to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security through a suite of more than 15 nutrition assistance programs, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs, WIC and SNAP. Together, these programs serve 1 in 4 Americans over the course of a year, promoting consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To learn more about FNS, visit and follow @USDANutrition.


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Page updated: June 24, 2024