New Farm Bill Offers Opportunity to Enhance Retail Environment for Healthy Food Sales

By Dennis Archambault

Few small grocers and convenience stores are stocking healthy food products, but those who do usually don’t place them in highly visible locations or promote them like more profitable commercial goods like sweets, fast food, and alcoholic products.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest last month released a report of recommendations for inclusion in the next Farm Bill, currently being negotiated in Congress: “Recommendations to Promote Healthy Retail Food Environments/Federal Policy Opportunities for the Farm Bill”. The report notes that “Inequitable access to healthy food environments and unequal exposure to unhealthy food marketing contribute to persistent differences in diet quality and healthy outcomes based on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.”

The recommendations in the report are largely regulatory in nature but also include incentives for research and grant opportunities. Of particular note are three that deal with in-store, or online marketing of food products:

  • Strengthen SNAP retailer stocking standards to align with Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • Establish healthy placement standards for SNAP retailers in-store and online. Food product manufacturers and distributors often negotiate space for their products through incentives.
  • Mandate that online emailers display the Nutrition Facts Panel, ingredients, and allergens.


The recommendations also promote in-store promotion of nutritious goods:

  • Expand nutrition incentives and promote retailer participation and healthy marketing through the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (which has been part of the Farm Bill).
  • Expand the SNAP Education target audience and allowable activities so nutrition education reaches more people and is available in more retail food settings.


There is a lot in this report that will interest advocates of nutrition and community health.

Dennis Archambault is vice president of Public Affairs for Authority Health.

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