Small Store Owners Say Proposed SNAP Regulations Would Send Customers To Supermarkets

Image courtesy of Curtis Cronn

SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is what has replaced what were once called food stamps with debit cards. Not all stores are authorized to accept food stamps, and proposed new regulations would change the requirements to accept them. While the foods that recipients can use their balance on wouldn’t change, the food that retailers are required to stock before they can accept SNAP would.

What would they be required to carry? The Wall Street Journal explains that stores taking part in the program would be required to carry more protein and dairy products, stocking a minimum of six packages each of items like sliced turkey, canned tuna, almond milk, or infant formula.

That isn’t a problem for a large retailer like Walmart, but it is very inconvenient for small corner stores that don’t have much shelf space, and that don’t have a lot of demand for ground lamb and almond milk among customers.

Getting more fresh food in the hands of low-income people is a great goal, but advocates for small store owners argue that their stores simply aren’t big enough, and people aren’t interested in buying it from them.

One corner store owner in Chicago told the WSJ that even though he tried stocking fresh meat in years past, that isn’t what customers were there to buy. “We tried that a long time ago,” he said, but customers used their SNAP funds to buy chips and soda instead anyway.

Defenders of smaller stores say that the new rules would put supermarkets and large discounters like Walmart at an advantage, since they already stock the variety of items that the rules would require.

Stores Accepting Food Stamps Face Stricter Rules [Wall Street Journal]

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