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Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP): A Spatial Analysis


  • HIP boosts fruit and vegetable consumption among SNAP participants.
  • Abt analyzed the impact of proximity to HIP participating retailers.
  • Distance from HIP participating retailers affected purchases of targeted food.
The Challenge

To boost purchases of fruit and vegetables, the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) gave SNAP recipients 30 cents for every SNAP dollar spent on these foods. In Hampden County, Massachusetts—one of the pilot sites--not all retailers participated. In looking at the findings, the question arose about how the location of HIP participating stores affected shopping patterns.

The Approach

Abt conducted a spatial analysis to answer this question. We investigated the extent to which the limited availability of HIP retailers might suppress qualifying purchases and the impact on consumption. We examined how the food retail environment might have influenced Hampden County SNAP participants’ fruit and vegetable purchases in general and the HIP impact estimates in particular. The spatial analysis complemented other work we did to evaluate HIP.

The Results

Among the findings, we found that while about two-thirds of Hampden County participants lived within one mile of a supermarket, only 26% lived within one mile of an HIP participating supermarket. Each additional mile that a SNAP household lived from a non-HIP participating shore was associated with 69 cents less in purchases of targeted fruits and vegetables. We also revealed other findings about shopping patterns.