Meanwhile, non-SNAP households have vegetables No. 2 (9.1%), fruit No. 4 (7.2%) and sweet beverages No. 5 (7.1%).
Of course, it’s not just food choices that make the difference. Access to healthy food is a big problem for low-income areas, and there’s a movement to improve these “food deserts.” There’s a chicken or the egg issue here. Do low income areas not buy healthier food because they’re not there, or are healthier food options not available because consumers in low income areas don’t buy them?
Hopefully this change to the SNAP program to force more small retailers and convenience stores to carry healthier items will improve access to food such as fresh produce, and hopefully people will buy it.
Produce groups are optimistic the changes will improve nutrition for consumers and still allow these small retail stores to remain profitable. In 2014, the United Fresh Produce Association worked with the National Association of Convenience Stores to improve fresh and fresh-cut produce distribution supply chains so convenience stores can offer a wider variety of fresh produce. It’s a small step, I think, but one toward better health and smarter business and government.