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SNAP healthy incentive programs encourage people participating in SNAP to purchase healthy foods by providing a coupon, discount, gift card, bonus food item or extra funds.

Research shows that incentive programs are an effective way to promote healthy eating and improve nutrition security for more Americans.

See the full infographic.


Request a SNAP incentive project waiver.

Who has a role to play in SNAP healthy incentives?

The White House National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health called on all of us to help expand SNAP incentives. Key partners include:

  • SNAP-authorized retailers
  • State, local, and tribal governments
  • Non-profit and for-profit organizations

Together, we can bring more SNAP healthy incentive programs to more communities – making nutritious food more accessible and affordable.

How can healthy incentives help?

A key barrier to healthy eating is lack of access or enough money to buy nutritious food. SNAP healthy incentives empower Americans to eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and other healthful foods. Improving what we eat can significantly reduce diet-related chronic diseases and disparities.

What foods can be incentivized?

Retailers can offer incentives for foods in the following food group categories:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables, including legumes (beans and peas)
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy foods

Incentives can apply to specific products or any combination of products as long as they fall into one of the categories above and meet the specifications outlined in the chart below.

Food Group(s)Eligible Incentive Foods *
Fruits and Vegetables
  • Whole fruits and vegetables (including legumes)
  • 100% fruit and/or vegetable juice
  • Any variety of fresh, canned, dried, or frozen whole or cut fruits and vegetables without added sugars, fats, oils, or salt (i.e., sodium).
  • Seeds and plants
  • All varieties of low-fat or non-fat liquid, dry, or evaporated pasteurized cow’s milk, without flavoring or sweeteners, including lactose-free and lactose-reduced products
  • Fortified soy beverages (soy milk)
  • Low-fat or non-fat fresh or frozen yogurt
  • Low-fat or non-fat buttermilk
  • Low-fat or non-fat kefir
  • Low-fat or non-fat cheese

    Note: Cream, butter, sour cream, and cream cheese are not included due to their low calcium content.
Whole Grains
  • Whole grains, such as amaranth, barley (not pearled), brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, oats, quinoa, dark rye, and wild rice.
  • Whole-grain products with whole grain listed as the first ingredient (or the second ingredient after water), such as whole-grain cornmeal, whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat chapati, whole-grain cereals, and whole-grain pasta.

*Prepared foods (e.g., sandwiches, salad bars, etc.) and accessory foods (e.g., cookies, crackers, ice cream, etc.) are not eligible for SNAP incentives. See associated FNS policy memos for definitions of prepared and accessory foods.

How do SNAP recipients receive and use incentives?

Each SNAP healthy incentive program is different. Generally, a SNAP customer earns incentives, such as a coupon, discount at the point of purchase, or extra funds for SNAP purchases, when they purchase eligible incentive foods with their SNAP EBT card. They can then redeem the incentives to purchase more eligible incentive foods or other SNAP eligible foods.

What types of SNAP incentive programs exist?
Federally Funded
State or Local Government FundedIncentives can be funded by state, local, and tribal governments that partner with SNAP-authorized retailers.
Privately FundedSNAP-authorized retailers can independently fund incentive programs or non/for-profit organizations can fund incentives in partnership with stores.
Farmers MarketFarmers markets are authorized to provide incentives to SNAP recipients to make local foods more affordable and support farmers.
How do I find retailers participating in SNAP health incentives?

The SNAP Retailer Locator allows anyone to locate nearby SNAP-authorized retailers by entering a street address, city and state, or zip code. Enter your starting location and select a retailer or map point to get details and directions. If a retailer is participating in SNAP healthy incentives, you will see that information on the pop-up window. You can also use the “SNAP Healthy Incentive” filter function to search for participating retailers.

How do we start a SNAP incentive program?

The basic steps for starting a SNAP healthy incentive program are:

  1. Identify funding. Unless you are a federal grantee, you must identify state, local or private funding.
  2. Select SNAP-authorized retailers. Determine which stores will offer incentives.
  3. Choose your model. Decide how households will earn and redeem incentives.
  4. Request a waiver. The funding entity or store must get FNS approval to offer healthy incentives. Federal incentive grantees and farmers markets do not need a waiver.
  5. Train staff and program operators.
  6. Market and promote. Make sure all SNAP households have an equal opportunity to participate. Consider sharing information about incentives in multiple languages.

If you have any questions or concerns on retailer incentive programs not addressed on this webpage, please email FNS at

Do we need approval to operate a SNAP incentive program?

Yes. SNAP incentive projects must get FNS approval to waive the SNAP equal treatment provision before offering healthy incentives. The SNAP equal treatment provision requires SNAP recipients to be treated the same as other customers. The provision prohibits both negative treatment (such as discriminatory practices) and preferential treatment (such as incentive programs).

  • The waiver can be requested by the retailer or funding entity.
  • Incentive projects operating at multiple store locations only need one waiver for all locations.
  • A single store may offer incentives funded by multiple sources, but if any portion is funded by a state or local government or private entity, they must first obtain a waiver from FNS.
  • Exceptions, when a waiver is not required:
    • Farmers markets that independently fund incentives for their own market do not need to request a waiver.
    • Incentive projects that are part of one of the federally funded projects listed above, such as GusNIP or HFMI, do not need to request a waiver.

Submit your SNAP Incentive Waiver Request to FNS today!

How do we apply for a SNAP incentive waiver?

Please use this form to submit a waiver request.

Waiver requests are approved or denied within 45 days.

What does the research say?

Healthy Incentives Pilot Final Evaluation Report

  • HIP participants (respondents aged 16 and older) consumed almost 1/4 cup (26%) more fruits and vegetables per day than did non-participants.
  • HIP households spent more SNAP benefits on fruits and vegetables than non-HIP households in participating supermarkets and superstores – $12.05 versus $10.86 on average each month – an increase of $1.19 or 11%.
  • HIP households reported higher total spending on fruits and vegetables than non-HIP households.

Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives (FINI) Evaluations

Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP)

  • The findings from year two show that participants redeemed more than $20 million dollars in nutrition incentives and produce prescriptions distributed by GusNIP and the program generated an economic impact of about $41 million dollars. In addition, participants reported greater fruit and vegetable intake and improvements in food security. Findings from year three now available!

Farmers Market Incentive Provider Study

  • This study showed that SNAP redemptions and incentive use tended to grow the longer the incentive program was in operation. Newly SNAP-authorized farmers markets had lower median SNAP and incentive redemption than markets that had been SNAP-authorized for more than three years.
Page updated: December 13, 2023