The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) awarded a contract to IMPAQ International to determine what foods are typically purchased by households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. This study examined point-of-sale (POS) food purchase data to determine for what foods SNAP households have the largest expenditures, and how their expenditures compare to those made by non-SNAP households.
IMPAQ researchers analyzed the POS data from 32 states over a one year time period. We use descriptive statistics to determine purchasing patterns among USDA MyPlate food groups. We also used loyalty cards alongside EBT cards to differentiate SNAP and non-SNAP households. Our team developed more than 1,000 tables to describe various purchasing patterns.
Overall, the findings from our study concluded that SNAP and non-SNAP household purchase similar foods. The top 10 food categories were the same for both SNAP and non-SNAP households, although ranked in different order. The information gathered from this study can provide insights on needed nutritional efforts regardless of SNAP status.