Could EBT Machines Increase Fruit and Vegetable Purchases at New York City Green Carts?

Andrew Breck, Kamila Kiszko, Olivia Martinez, Courtney Abrams, Brian Elbel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Residents of some low-income neighborhoods have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2008, New York City issued new mobile fruit and vegetable cart licenses for neighborhoods with inadequate availability of fresh produce. Some of these carts were equipped with electronic benefit transfer (EBT) machines, allowing them to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. This article examines the association between type and quantities of fruits and vegetables purchased from mobile fruit and vegetable vendors and consumer characteristics, including payment method.

METHODS: Customers at 4 produce carts in the Bronx, New York, were surveyed during 3 periods in 2013 and 2014. Survey data, including purchased fruit and vegetable quantities, were analyzed using multivariable negative binomial regressions, with payment method (cash only vs EBT or EBT and cash) as the primary independent variable. Covariates included availability of EBT, vendor, and customer sociodemographic characteristics.

RESULTS: A total of 779 adults participated in this study. Shoppers who used SNAP benefits purchased an average of 5.4 more cup equivalents of fruits and vegetables than did shoppers who paid with cash. Approximately 80% of this difference was due to higher quantities of purchased fruits.

CONCLUSION: Expanding access to EBT machines at mobile produce carts may increase purchases of fruits and vegetables from these vendors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number170104
Pages (from-to)E83
JournalPreventing Chronic Disease
StatePublished - Sep 21 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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