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Cooking Matters at the Store is a free program that works with families to stretch their food budgets so their children get healthy meals at home. Cooking Matters at the Store is a conversation about skills that helps adults learners get the most nutrition for their food dollars.

Intervention Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Food Insecurity/Food Assistance

SNAP-Ed Strategies: Direct Education

Intervention Reach and Adoption

From guided grocery store tours, adults experiencing limited food resources learn how to shop smart and use nutrition information to make healthier choices. Cooking Matters at the Store is a widespread program and is implemented in community settings throughout the United States. 

Settings: Pre-K & Childcare, Community-wide, Retail, Schools, Farmers Markets, Faith-Based centers, Food Pantries, Healthcare, Tribal Reservations

Age/Population Group: Pregnant/Breastfeeding, Parents/Caregivers, Adults, Older Adults, Unhoused

Race: All

Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

Cooking Matters at the Store consists of up to a 1.5-hour intervention held as an in-store tour or a pop-up variation in alternate settings. The program covers four key food selection skills:

  1. Reading food labels
  2. Comparing unit prices
  3. Finding whole grain foods
  4. Identifying three ways to purchase produce
Intervention Materials

Cooking Matters facilitator materials support guided conversations with participants focused on the four key skills. Participants take home a booklet with recipes and shopping tips. 

Evidence Summary

In 2013, Altarum Institute evaluated Cooking Matters at the Store's impact. Highlights from the report include:

  • Following a grocery store tour, most families have high confidence in their ability to make their food purchases go farther (74%) and to get the most produce for their money (72%).
  • 89% of families report saving money on groceries five weeks after a tour.
  • Food security increased from 53% to 64% after taking a tour.
  • The percentage of families comparing food labels for ingredients when shopping more than doubled from 40% pre-tour to 83% post-tour.
  • After a tour:
    • 76% of families buy more fruits and vegetables
    • 62% of families buy more low-sodium foods
    • 55% of families buy more low-sugar foods
    • 62% of families buy more lean proteins
    • 54% of families buy more low-fat dairy
    • 85% of families buy less unhealthy food

For more information, visit and click on Tour Program Evaluation.   

Evidence Base: Practice-tested

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

  Readiness and Capacity - Short Term (ST) Changes - Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance - Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual ST1, ST2 MT1, MT2 LT1, LT2  
Environmental Settings      
Sectors of Influence      
Evaluation Materials

Materials are available to organizations that had signed, active partnership agreements with Cooking Matters to provide programs for the organizational fiscal year beginning July 1, 2022.

Success Story

SNAP-Ed in Colorado brings nutrition education into the grocery store:  

Additional Information

Website: The Cooking Matters website ( includes recipes with full nutrition information and links to print and share on social media, videos and tips on saving money at the store, turning kid favorites into healthy meals and holidays on a budget, stories from graduates and volunteers. Application to Cooking Matters partnership is closed.

Contact Person(s):

Cooking Matters National

1030 15th Street, NW, Suite 1100 W, Washington, DC 20005

Phone: 303-801-0328



*Updated as of August 23, 2023