SNAP Recipients Cutting Back on Grocery Items 2X Faster than Non-Recipients; Prioritizing Cheaper Brands, Deprioritizing Stock Up Trips

CHICAGO, May 10, 2023 (GlobeNewswire) – Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, has launched a SNAP Consumer Insights Center to provide visibility into SNAP / WIC shopping trips and the households using these programs. Numerator collects and analyzes SNAP consumer behavior through verified payment methods at the time of purchase, regardless of where purchases are made.

With the recent expiration of the SNAP Emergency Allotments (EA) program, SNAP recipients have changed their buying behaviors, creating different pressures for consumers, brands and retailers alike. The first piece of research published on the SNAP Consumer Insights Center, “The Impact of Ending the SNAP Emergency Allotment Program,” analyzes these purchasing shifts, as well as changes in consumer sentiment, and qualitative perspectives directly from SNAP consumers.

Emergency Allotments Analysis Findings:

  • SNAP recipients are buying fewer groceries than they were a year ago. Grocery units (purchased by SNAP recipients in states that recently dropped the EA program) decreased by 12% in March 2023 vs YA – twice the rate of decline for non-recipients in those states.
    • According to an April 2023 Numerator survey, a majority of those receiving SNAP benefits (58%) report that their monthly allocation only lasts them two weeks, as opposed to 41% who said the same in September 2022.
  • All SNAP-eligible grocery departments are seeing declines in volume. No grocery department eligible for SNAP benefits saw resilience against unit volume declines among recipients. Departments that showed the largest difference between SNAP recipients and non-recipients living in states that dropped the EA program included shelf stable meals (SNAP recipients down 21% in March 2023 compared to the previous year), meats (-18%), frozen foods (-16%), and herbs & spices (-15%).
  • SNAP consumers are trading down to reduce absolute costs. When asked in an April 2023 survey how they were coping with rising food prices, 49% said they had switched to cheaper brands (up from 43% who said the same in February 2023), and 34% said they were buying more private label brands (up from 29%). The only cost-saving measure that declined from February to April was “stocking up during a sale” (48% in April, 54% in February).
  • Shifts to private label are happening in categories beyond Grocery. From March 2022 to March 2023, private label gained disproportionate share among SNAP recipients living in states that dropped the EA program (compared to non-recipients) in Grocery and Health & Beauty – and even more significantly in Baby and Home & Garden.

Volume Change Among States Ending Emergency Allotments in March 2023
March 2023 vs March 2022, in units

Sector SNAP Recipients Non-Recipients
Grocery -12% -7%
Health & Beauty -18% -16%
Household -19% -15%
Home & Garden -25% -23%
Pet -19% -17%
Tools & Home Improvement -27% -20%
Toys -31% -20%
Office -15% -14%
Electronics -28% -27%
Baby -24% -20%

Source: Numerator Insights

Response to Rising Food Prices Survey
Which of the following, if any, have you done in the past month to cope with rising food prices? 

February 2023 April 2023
Switched to a cheaper brand 43% 49%
Stocked up during a sale 54% 48%
Cut back spending on non-food purchases 39% 45%
Buying more private label groceries 29% 34%
Buying less meat / protein 25% 32%
Buying smaller package sizes 23% 27%
Buying less fresh produce 18% 25%

Source: Numerator Survey

The SNAP Consumer Insights Center will release new SNAP-based analyses throughout the month of May, including shopper profiles, retailer vulnerability, and channel, category, and geographic impact. Visit for the latest research.

About Numerator:

Numerator is a data and tech company bringing speed and scale to market research.  Numerator blends first-party data from over 1 million US households with advanced technology to provide 360-degree consumer understanding for the market research industry that has been slow to change. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Numerator has 2,000 employees worldwide; 80 of the top 100 CPG brands’ manufacturers are Numerator clients.



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