Economic Research Report No. (ERR-70) 23 pp

January 2009

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption by Low-Income Americans: Would a Price Reduction Make a Difference?

Americans' diets, particularly those of low-income households, fall short of Government recommendations in the quantity of fruits and vegetables consumed. Some proposals suggest that a price subsidy for those products would encourage low-income Americans to consume more of them. This study estimated that a 10-percent subsidy would encourage low-income Americans to increase their consumption of fruits by 2.1-5.2 percent and vegetables by 2.1-4.9 percent. The annual cost of such a subsidy for low-income Americans would be about $310 million for fruits and $270 million for vegetables. And most would still not meet Federal dietary recommendations.

Keywords: Price subsidy, demand elasticity, food consumption, fruits and vegetables, low income, Homescan Data, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), MyPyramid

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