Convenience stores will need to begin stocking “staple foods” in order to comply with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and continue accepting food stamps, under a provision in the federal farm bill, News 7 Observer reported.
Signed into law Feb. 7 by President Barack Obama, the farm bill features a provision that requires “depth of stock” in four staple food products: bread or cereals, vegetables or fruits, dairy products, and meat, poultry or fish.
Convenience store chain officials noted they expect to be able to meet the new standards, and nutritionists noted the provision could lead to better food options for low-income shoppers.
Kelly Jackson, a registered dietitian and professor at the University of Arizona’s Department of Nutritional Sciences told News Observer 7 that she sees some obstacles for c-stores, especially for those not equipped for the turnover rate of fresh produce.
Lyle Beckwith of the National Association of Convenience Stores said most members of the group’s board of directors have told him they will carry more items if it is necessary to comply with SNAP.
“It will really come down to the individual store, whether they benefit from SNAP or not,” said Beckwith, NACS’ senior vice president of government relations.
He said some stores could choose to increase their stock regardless of the amount of food stamps they accept, while others may see the costs outweigh the benefits.
Under the changes to the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, convenience stores that accept food stamps will now have to have at least seven items in each category of staple foods, up from three items per category that were required before. The changes also would require a perishable food item in at least three of the categories, up from two categories previously, according to the News 7 Observer.