How are SNAP shopping trips changing over time?

Numerator’s SNAP Trip Tracker looks at longitudinal trends in SNAP & WIC usage, and showcases how the frequency, composition and location of these SNAP shopping trips have changed over time. How does a grocery trip where SNAP benefits are used differ from the average grocery trip, how has the overall prevalence of these trips changed over the past few years, and how have category and channel choices shifted for SNAP trips since the end of the Emergency Allotment program?

High Level SNAP Trip Tracking

In April 2023, 5.2% of all FMCG grocery trips utilized SNAP benefits, down from 6.9% in January and the lowest level seen since spring of 2020, when the pandemic induced a surge of SNAP + WIC benefit usage. 

How do SNAP trips differ from the average grocery trip?

Grocery trips where SNAP benefits are used tend to be larger than non-SNAP trips, both in overall spend (+$11) and in units purchased (+3). Since the end of the Emergency Allotment program this spring, SNAP baskets have begun to shrink, though still remain larger than the average grocery basket.

High Level SNAP Trip Tracking

As they pull back on grocery units, SNAP shoppers are disproportionately dropping select categories like refrigerated foods, seafood & fish, canned goods, breakfast and meats. Each of these categories were purchased on a smaller portion of SNAP trips this year versus last, indicating SNAP shoppers are pulling back on higher priced or non-essential grocery items. 

SNAP Trip Channel Shifts

Although traditional grocers still capture nearly two-fifths of in-store SNAP grocery trips, the past three months have seen a shift to smaller-format retailers for SNAP purchases. Shoppers have pulled back on SNAP usage at club and food channels while increasing their portion of trips at gas & convenience stores. 

Visit our SNAP Insights Hub to learn more.

Numerator’s SNAP Insights Center brings together our latest research on shopping trips where SNAP / WIC benefits are leveraged and the households using these programs.

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