Our country faces a produce consumption crisis. Frozen food is a commonsense solution thanks to its affordability, reduced food waste and ease of preparation. The Supporting All Healthy Options When Purchasing Produce (SHOPP) Act will make produce more accessible by promoting the increased inclusion of frozen fruits and vegetables for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Only 1 in 10 Americans report eating the recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables, and the problem is worse among low-income households and participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Some of the top barriers to a nutritious diet among SNAP participants are a lack of cooking skills and lack of time to prepare foods.
Frozen food is a pragmatic part of the solution to meeting the country’s nutrition needs. With easy to follow on-pack instructions, frozen food helps consumers prepare meals with minimum equipment, cooking skills, or time and can satisfy diverse preferences by aligning with ethnic and cultural norms. Frozen food also means reduced food waste thanks to its longer shelf life and the ability to only prepare what is needed, which means further cost savings.
GusNIP and its point-of-sale promotion programs overwhelmingly promote fresh over frozen, and USDA’s Produce Prescription Program only funds projects that support the consumption of fresh produce. GusNIP provides annual grants to non-profit and government organizations that develop programs that encourage and/or incentivize increased produce consumption among low-income families. The GusNIP annual budget for FY 2023 is $59.4 million, with $20.7 million of those funds earmarked for the GusNIP Produce Prescription Program, “which allows healthcare providers to ‘prescribe’ fresh fruits and vegetables.”
The SHOPP Act would amend and modernize GusNIP’s priorities in important ways. Under the proposal:
- The Secretary of Agriculture MUST consider GusNIP applications/projects that promote or incentivize FROZEN fruit and vegetable consumption among SNAP recipients.
- USDA must allow FROZEN fruits, vegetables and legumes to be included in the Produce Prescription Program. The program currently allows only fresh fruits and vegetables.
Contact your member of Congress and ask them to support the SHOPP Act! Click here for a quick, three-step process to reach out in support of the SHOPP Act.