The Add Milk! program, which is being launched by the Auburn University’s College of Human Sciences Hunger Solutions Institute (HSI) and select retailers to provide a dollar-for-dollar match for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, when they purchase low-fat or non-fat milk, is expanding across the Oglala Sioux Nation and the state of South Dakota.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded HSI a $3 million cooperative agreement in October 2022 to expand Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive (HFMI) Projects to more than 116 retail locations throughout Alabama, California, Georgia and South Dakota. A community event held at Buche Foods in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, marked the launch of the HFMI project, Add Milk!, at 14 participating stores across the state of South Dakota.
“Expanding the SNAP Healthy Fluid Milk Incentives Project means greater access to affordable, nutritious dairy products for the most vulnerable Americans,” said Michael Dykes, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association. “Consuming milk, along with its 13 essential nutrients, is linked to healthy immune function, hydration, cognition, mental health, bone health, and lower risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. During this time of chronic food insecurity, it’s critical we find ways to stretch the SNAP dollar further in support of the purchase of nutrient-dense foods.”
The HFMI pilot program was established as part of the 2018 Farm Bill to promote milk as part of a healthy, balanced diet consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Overall, Americans are consuming less milk. Low-fat milk is an important part of a healthy diet, and health researchers have warned these declines over time could have health impacts on future generations. Studies have shown that incentive programs, like Add Milk!, increase purchase and consumption of the incentivized food. HFMI pilot projects will be operating in more than 150 locations across 6 states by the end of 2023, and Congress increased funding for the program in FY2023 to expand it to more stores and more locations in the coming years.
“USDA is thrilled to see the launch of our Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive project through the collaborative efforts of Auburn University and dedicated local retailers,” said Cindy Long, administrator of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. “The Add Milk! Program is bringing healthy, nutritious milk options to SNAP consumers and driving economic development in underserved communities. It is a win-win for both participants and America’s dairy farmers. We further thank the International Dairy Food Association for their support of the project and today’s event.”