Home » NACS Urges Retailers To Comment To Protect C-Store SNAP Program

NACS Urges Retailers To Comment To Protect C-Store SNAP Program

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Last updated on June 13th, 2024 at 05:07 pm

The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) has launched a web page to make it easier for convenience stores to submit comments on the proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) is giving retailers until May 18 to file comments.

According to NACS, if implemented, the proposed rule changes the requirements retailers have to meet to participate and could push thousands of c-stores out of the program. NACS urges retailers to tell FNS how the proposed changes will negatively impact their businesses and their ability to accept SNAP benefits.

The proposal requires retailers to stock more varieties of products in four “staple food” categories: (1) meat, poultry or fish; (2) bread or cereal; (3) vegetables or fruits; and (4) dairy. Specifically, retailers must stock at least seven different varieties of food items in each of the four staple food categories. Before the 2014 Farm Bill, retailers had to stock three different varieties in each staple food category. In addition, retailers will be required to offer at least one perishable food item in three of those categories rather than two.

FNS also included several changes that went significantly beyond the statutory requirements, NACS says. The proposal would make it so “multiple ingredient” items, such as lasagna or chicken pot-pie, would not be counted in any staple food category and would not go toward a retailer’s “depth of stock” requirements.

According to NACS, this is a dramatic change from the current rules, which permit multiple ingredient items to be counted in one staple food category depending on the main ingredient. The proposal also would add a “stocking requirement” whereby retailers would always have to have six different units of any food item on display at any given time.

Additionally, if 15 percent or more of a store’s total food sales come from items that are “cooked or heated on site before or after purchase,” that store, according to the proposal, would be automatically ineligible to participate in SNAP. According to NACS, this provision alone will push thousands of stores out of the program.

Many times, NACS says, convenience stores are the only stores that are close by or open late at night where SNAP beneficiaries can quickly buy necessary food items for their families.

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The Shelby Report delivers complete grocery news and supermarket insights nationwide through the distribution of five monthly regional print and digital editions. Serving the retail food trade since 1967, The Shelby Report is “Region Wise. Nationwide.”

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