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BPC's Food and Nutrition Security Task Force Commends USDA for Increased Assistance to SNAP Beneficiaries

Washington, DC – The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Food and Nutrition Security Task Force co-chairs: Former Secretaries of Agriculture Dan Glickman and Ann Veneman, Founder of World Central Kitchen Jose Andres, and President and CEO of FMI- The Food Industry Association Leslie Sarasin issued the following statement on behalf of the bipartisan task force:

The Bipartisan Policy Center Food and Nutrition Security Task Force (FNSTF) applauds the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement regarding the revised Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) that will increase the level of food assistance to SNAP beneficiaries. The plan was originally created with costs set in 1962 and although some updates have been made—with the most recent update occurring in 2006—SNAP recipients have found that they were unable to afford nutritious foods, or their benefits were running out.

The reevaluation announced today, which was mandated in the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill, has resulted in updates to the SNAP benefit levels to more accurately reflect the true cost of a healthy eating pattern. We commend the Biden administration for making it a top priority to ensure Americans can afford and access nutritious foods with their SNAP benefits. The TFP changes announced by the administration are timely and urgent given the temporary 15% benefit increase in response to COVID-19 will expire September 30, 2021, combined with recent inflationary increases in food costs. The increased benefit level of an average of about $36 per person per month, more than a 25% increase, will go in effect in October 2021.

Today, nearly 22 million households receive support for their food purchases through the SNAP program. SNAP federal assistance will total nearly $145 billion this year. Our task force supports the steps taken by USDA to permanently align SNAP benefit allotments with food costs and nutritional needs.

“The release of the revised Thrifty Food Plan is a welcome announcement for millions of Americans who rely on SNAP benefits to feed their families,” said Glickman. “The increase in benefits will not only reduce food insecurity, but it will improve nutrition and health.”

“The long-needed revision is beneficial to SNAP recipients as well as food industry organizations across the country,” said Sarasin. “Retailers are prepared to support this update and remain committed to continuing to partner closely with USDA to provide food to SNAP recipients.”

“Providing increased SNAP benefits will tremendously help Americans experiencing food insecurity,” said Chef Andres. “We must do everything we can to ensure no one goes hungry. This is a step in the right direction, and I look forward to continuing to work with the administration and Congress to further promote food and nutrition security.”

“We are pleased to see the revision of the Thrifty Food Plan, which includes increased benefits for all SNAP recipients,” said Veneman. “It will allow families to purchase nutritious foods, which is important to promote health and reduce diet-related chronic conditions.”

The FNSTF looks forward to continuing to work with USDA and the Biden administration on food and nutrition security issues, including through the release of our upcoming policy briefs that will provide recommendations for continuing to respond to COVID-19, Child Nutrition Reauthorization, and the next Farm Bill.

Members of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Food and Nutrition Security Task Force include:

  • Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO, Feeding America
  • Rochelle Davis, President and CEO, Healthy Schools Campaign
  • Zippy Duval, President, American Farm Bureau Federation
  • Ihuoma U. Eneli, M.D., M.S., FAAP, Director, Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition, Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • Rev. Douglas Greenaway, MDiv, President and CEO, National WIC Association
  • J. Nadine Gracia, M.D., MSCE, President and CEO, Trust for America’s Health
  • Luis Guardia, President, Food Research & Action Center
  • Kristina Herrmann, Director, Underserved Populations, Amazon
  • Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, Advisor and Board Member, Mission Readiness
  • Navina Khanna, Co-Founder and Executive Director, HEAL Food Alliance
  • Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Doctor of Public Health, Dean, Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy, Tufts University
  • Robert Paarlberg, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Wellesley College, Associate, Sustainability Science Program, Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Weatherhead Center
  • Pam Schwartz, MPH, Executive Director, Community Health, Kaiser Permanente
  • Tom Stenzel, President and CEO, United Fresh Produce Association
  • Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO, Chobani