What's at stake

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a powerful food safety net program and has many positive public health impacts for the millions of children, adults, seniors, and people with disabilities who participate. SNAP helps to reduce poverty, food insecurity, health care expenditures, and the risk of chronic conditions later in life.

Yet eligibility criteria exclude many people experiencing food insecurity, and more than half of 10 SNAP participants point to cost as a major barrier to healthy eating. Participants may also be uniquely exposed to unhealthy food marketing and lack of quality, affordable, nutrient-dense food in nearby stores.

SNAP logo of groceries in a bag

How it works

SNAP is the nation's largest federally funded nutrition assistance program and first line of defense against food and nutrition insecurity. The program provides financial benefits via an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card, which participants can use to buy groceries—in-store and online—at more than 250,000 retailers nationwide.

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Fruits and vegetables on display in a market

Resource Spotlight

Report: Recommendations to Promote Healthy Retail Food Environments

The goal of this report is to make recommendations for policy, voluntary actions, and research areas to support in-store and online food environments that make healthy food and beverage choices easier for all consumers. All shoppers face barriers to purchasing nutritious food in a retail environment that disproportionately promotes unhealthy food products. However, retail marketing has an even greater impact on shoppers who use SNAP. 

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SNAP strategies

Learn more about our healthy food access theory of change.

Our vision

What participants are saying

Asian father and son grocery shopping in fruit section

On adequacy of SNAP benefits

"The cost of eating healthy is ten times more than what SNAP benefits can cover" -A SNAP participant in North Carolina

On SNAP incentives

"[Fruit and vegetable incentives] would benefit me a lot because no matter how much I try and make it stretch, it doesn't ever seem to stretch." -A SNAP participant in Iowa

Black family shopping for groceries with masks on

On reshaping a healthy retail environment for SNAP shoppers

"Yes, it’s awful tempting when you are waiting to check out to grab a candy bar. It would be just as easy if they had fresh fruit there that you could just grab.” -A SNAP participant in Ohio

Our team

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