SNAP Users Face New Struggle in 2023

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Consumers reliant upon federal SNAP benefits face an uphill battle as the dog days of summer approach.

The United States Congress canceled the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Emergency Allotments in March, meaning 42 million households that depend on such benefits faced financial strains.

A new survey shows that 62% of SNAP users said the cancelation of emergency allotments has significantly impacted their budgets. Retail data science company 84.51° also found that 48% of respondents are struggling to maintain a monthly budget.

“Now is a good time for brands and grocers to give back,” Bridget Allerton, director of commercial Insights at 84.51°, told The Food Institute. “Thirty-four percent of shoppers in the survey indicated that they use food banks more often since the end of Emergency Allotment payments.

Allerton also added that one in eight Americans participate in the SNAP program.

Other noteworthy findings from the 84.51° survey include:

  • 30% of SNAP users are behind on payments
  • 44% fear there will be additional SNAP benefit reductions
  • 51% indicated they’re cutting back on groceries
  • 56% said they’re cutting back on snacks/candy
  • 47% are cutting back on deli/meat/fish

Nearly one-third of survey respondents (30%) are currently skipping meals to account for their financial shortfall.

“Forty-one percent of shoppers said they’re switching to lower-cost goods,” Allerton said. “Shoppers are most willing to switch to lower-cost brands in the following categories: shelf stable (54 percent); drinks (41 percent); and dairy (36 percent).”

SNAP consumers said they feel that shopping at grocery stores allows them to stretch their budget furthest.

“Food brands and grocery chains can make more of an effort to understand the values and needs of shoppers who use SNAP benefits,” Allerton said. “This ultimately would make it easier for consumers to plan and shop…We found the best value tools for consumers are digital coupons and weekly digital deals. Sixty percent of respondents say that finding SNAP-eligible products online is ‘extremely easy.’ ”