Some public health advocates and policymakers are proposing restrictions on the types of foods eligible for purchase with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, such as sugary drinks and food products with minimal nutritional value. To date, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has rejected all such proposals due to lack of research on whether such restrictions would work as intended. The objective of this project is to provide evidence of the likely effects of SNAP food restrictions on child and adult participants’ food choices. The target population is children and adult members of low-income, SNAP-eligible households. Using secondary data on household food purchases and econometric simulation methods, this study will examine the causal pathway(s) through which the SNAP program affects participants’ food choices and nutrition, and the potential impacts of SNAP restrictions and other realistic SNAP policy options. Two models will be estimated: 1) using household food purchase data collected in the nationally representative 2012 USDA Economic Research Service National Food Study, and 2) using the parameter estimates to simulate the effects of SNAP restrictions, changes in the relative prices of specific foods, and SNAP allotment changes on household food purchases and nutrition.
Assessing the Impact of Food Restrictions Under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) on Food Choices by Children and Families
In the next year, an estimated 1 in 4 children will experience food insecurity (up from 1 in 6, pre-pandemic), disproportionately impacting children in low-income households and racial/ethnic minorities. To mediate loss of school meals during closures and reduce COVID-19 exposure, Congress authorized the USDA to permit local education authorities … More
Food insecurity among households with children under 18 has increased dramatically during the COVID pandemic; from 15% in 2018 to 28% in June 2020. Governments and school districts have rapidly adopted policies to help children facing food insecurity as a result of the pandemic. Two leading policies include the Pandemic-Electronic … More
Strengthening the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through State Waiver Flexibilities: Perspectives from the National Network of State SNAP Directors
The rapid rise in food insecurity among households with children during COVID-19 has reinforced the critical role SNAP plays in reducing food insecurity and poverty, particularly in low-income communities of color. Waivers and other state program modifications enacted during the pandemic could improve access to SNAP and reduce income and … More