Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Obesity
Inventory requirements for retailers authorized in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) have undergone several revisions. The final rule in Jan 2018 requires minimum stocking of 36 instead of 12 staple food items in the original rule. While a more stringent rule was proposed in 2016 to expand the requirements to 84 items, it was not implemented due to concerns that stores may not withstand this expansion. This descriptive study examined food stocking in a sample of small retailers in Providence, RI to evaluate the barriers to more stringent requirements and explore differences in compliance to the original, proposed and final rules between high and low SNAP participating and racial minority resident areas.
This study used Food Access Research Atlas data to characterize the food environment of 30 small retailers from 5 census tracts in Providence, RI. Stores were assessed with an audit instrument developed by the Illinois Prevention Research Center to tally variety, perishability and depth of stock offerings in four staple food categories. Descriptive statistics, ANOVA and chi-square tests were used to determine compliance to the different requirements and if they differ between tracts with high and low SNAP participating and racial minority residents.
Results : Stores sampled included 12 non-chain grocery stores,12 convenience stores,1 small discount store,4 pharmacies and 1 liquor store. Of all stores, 80% were compliant with final rule and 66.7% would need to expand their offerings to meet the proposed rule. Of the SNAP authorized stores, 88.5% were compliant with final rule and 61.5% would need to expand their offerings to meet the proposed rule. Mean dairy variety was lower than variety in the other three categories (p< 0.05), which would be a potential barrier to the proposed rule. Majority of the stores were meeting the perishability and depth of stock requirements (92.3% and 96.1% respectively) in the proposed and final rules. No difference in compliance was detected between tracts with high and low SNAP participating and racial minority residents.
Future expansion of inventory requirements could potentially lead to increased healthful food availability without imposing undue burden on small retailers in Providence, RI, excluding increased requirements for dairy variety.
Funding Sources :
The study was not sponsored.