Recently, the USDA passed a new rule regarding minimum stock requirements for SNAP authorized retailers. The changes to the rule are significant, but should not be very difficult for convenience store owners to comply with.
As of May 17, 2017, the following changes will take effect:
What does this mean?
When these new requirements take effect, SNAP retailers must have at least 84 staple food items on their shelves regularly. These staple food items must be from the 4 staple food categories:
Vegetables or fruits
Meat, poultry, or fish
Bread or cereals
Each store must stock 7 different items in each of these categories, and keep at least 3 units in stock of each of the 7 items.
For most convenience stores, the most difficult requirements to meet will be in the vegetable or fruit category. Raw fruits and vegetables have extremely short shelf lives and limited appeal to a c-store customer. Fortunately, there are a number of products available to c-stores that can easily be added to your merchandise list that will satisfy the new requirements AND have a long shelf life. Consider stocking products similar to Campbell's V8 V-Fusion Juice.
What else has changed?
Businesses who make more than 50% of their total gross sales from prepared foods that are cooked or heated on-site by the retailer will no longer be eligible to accept SNAP. This means that many stores that partake in "you buy, we fry" sales will no longer be eligible to accept SNAP.
You can read the complete one page summary for store owners, published by the USDA, here. Keep checking back for more information and developments about the SNAP program, preferred EBT eligible products, and tips for being a SNAP retailer!