Helping Americans make healthy food choices on a budget.

USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion

vegetables

Challenge

In 2021, new Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits took effect, providing additional funds to SNAP participants. This first increase in nearly two decades provided an opportunity for USDA to promote resources that help maximize SNAP benefits and facilitate SNAP participants’ ability to eat healthfully on a budget. USDA tasked Hager Sharp with developing promotional strategies to engage these diverse audiences with new digital resources including the MyPlate.gov Healthy Eating on a Budget website, the Shop Simple with MyPlate app, and the MyPlate Quiz.

Solution

Hager Sharp implemented a pilot campaign in nine priority markets to test potential advertising messages and identify those that were the most effective in encouraging SNAP participants to engage with USDA resources. Hager Sharp worked with USDA to identify the primary audience for the project: SNAP participants and SNAP-eligible adult consumers who provided input on or made decisions about buying food for their households. We accounted for diversity within that audience through U.S. geographic regions, race, ethnicity, and language, and identified priority influencer audiences.

Results

The project’s paid media efforts garnered over 130 million impressions, resulting in over 197,000 visits to the MyPlate website.

Through pilot testing, we were able to determine the motivating factors that encouraged people to visit MyPlate resources for more information.

In addition to the paid media pilot, Hager Sharp conducted a comprehensive review of MyPlate.gov sections for cultural relevance and principles of health literacy. The team provided recommendations to ensure content was easy to access, inclusive, and culturally representative—via  its images of people, settings, and  food—for USDA’s priority audiences. The team also reviewed MyPlate.gov for plain language compliance and offered recommendations for revisions to simplify content and improve readability.

Digital ads for pilot testing were produced in English and Spanish.