Feeding America Statement on the USDA Update to Thrifty Food Plan

Statement attributed to Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Chief Executive Officer

August 16, 2021

“Feeding America, the nation’s largest hunger-relief charity, applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) update to the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), which will result in a long-overdue and largest-ever increase in benefit levels for people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Modernizing SNAP to reflect rising food prices and the actual costs to feed a family in the 21st century will help millions of families afford a healthy, nutritious diet. Recent polling by Feeding America found that the public strongly favors this type of update, with 78 percent of respondents agreeing that SNAP benefits should be modernized.*

“Before today’s update, Thrifty Food Plan was based on old nutritional standards, food preparation costs, and other assumptions first developed in 1975. The outdated calculation allotted only $1.40 per person per meal – falling far short of what families actually need to put food on the table. The Feeding America network of 200 food banks and 60,000 partner pantries and meal programs across the country see firsthand the impact of an outdated Thrifty Food Plan on our communities. When families are unable to stretch their SNAP dollars to meet their family’s needs, they turn to our food bank network to fill the gap. Improving food security for millions of families requires a modern federal nutrition program that reflects the real nutritional needs and food preparation of a family today.

“SNAP is America’s first line of defense against hunger. We at Feeding America believe that continued improvement to SNAP is critical to achieving food security for our nation. Feeding America projects that, due to the pandemic, 42 million people may be food insecure this year, including 13 million children. Among the people who participate in SNAP, two-thirds are children, seniors, and people living with disabilities. This modernization helps ensure that all people will have a better chance of getting the nutrition they need to thrive. Feeding America looks forward to continuing to work with the USDA and Congress to help every family struggling to put food on their table.”

*Based on a poll of 1,357 registered voters conducted from February-March 2021.


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About Feeding America

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of more than 200 food banks, 21 statewide food bank associations, and over 60,000 partner agencies, food pantries and meal programs, we helped provide 5.2 billion meals to tens of millions of people in need last year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; brings attention to the social and systemic barriers that contribute to food insecurity in our nation; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.