SNAP-Ed Data Collection Practices

Project Overview

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) is the nutritional compass for the country’s largest food assistance program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP provides more than 40 million people with low incomes with more than $60 billion in supplemental benefits to purchase groceries each month. SNAP-Ed is essentially a grant program that funds projects in all U.S. states and territories; these projects encompass nutrition education; social marketing; and policy, systems, and environmental change. All projects must adhere to the SNAP-Ed guiding principles; partnerships with agencies, companies, and foundations are encouraged. The overall goal of SNAP-Ed is to improve the likelihood that persons eligible for SNAP will make healthy food and lifestyle choices that prevent obesity.

In response to the 2018 Farm Bill’s push for improved data on the outcomes and impacts of SNAP-Ed, this study examined the Food and Nutrition Service’s data collection processes and tools. The study aimed to improve the collection and reporting of SNAP-Ed program inputs, outputs, outcomes, and impacts and ultimately facilitate aggregation of statistically valid SNAP-Ed data to the national level. Better SNAP-Ed data will help underscore the value of SNAP-Ed to Congress and ensure better support for people with low incomes across the country to live healthy lives.

Insight completed three main tasks for this study:

  • Demonstrated an understanding of SNAP-Ed data needs, reporting mechanisms, and current challenges
  • Convened technical working groups (TWGs) and steering committee of experts and facilitated discussions that informed recommendations for data collection and reporting best practices
  • Synthesized proceedings from TWG discussions in an agenda and action plan for data collection and reporting


Gleason, S., Crocker, J., Gabor, V., & Hansen, D. (2020). SNAP-Ed data improvement agenda and action plan. Prepared for U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service.

See publication on FNS website: