Politicians may fret about welfare recipients loading up their carts with non-essentials, but more than 44 million people rely on food stamps to feed their families. With the average food stamp recipient receiving $125.79 per month in benefits, let’s take a look at what they’re buying the most, according to research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The researchers present their data with a couple of caveats. For one, the data analyzed doesn’t include purchases from outlets like farmers markets. In addition, when people use both SNAP benefits and cash or a credit or debit card to make a purchase, it’s impossible to determine which items had been purchased using food stamps and which had been bought with the person’s own money.
Finally, the researchers note the difference in spending on various items was often very small. At first glance, it looks like food stamp households spend far more money on lunch meat (No. 10 out of 100 ranked commodities) than on apples (No. 67). In reality, SNAP recipients spend about half a cent of every food dollar on apples and about 1½ cents of every dollar on lunch meat.
Let’s take a quick look at the 10 items food stamp recipients are most likely to purchase.
10. Lunch meat