Trump aims to replace food stamps with meal kits

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Trump aims to replace food stamps with meal kits

By Gina Acosta - 02/13/2018
The America's Harvest Box program would replace a portion of the federal food stamp program with actual boxes of food delivered to recipients' front doors, exactly like meal kits. 

The Trump administration is proposing to replace nearly half of poor Americans' monthly cash benefits with a box of food. 

The plan, which would affect households that receive at least $90 a month in food stamps, or roughly 38 million people, would have far reaching implications for retail and CPG firms.

The America's Harvest Box program would replace a portion of the federal food stamp program with actual boxes of food delivered to recipients' front doors, exactly like meal kits. 

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney likened the model to that of the dominant meal-kit delivery service, Blue Apron, and called it one of the most "innovative" ideas in the president's budget.

"USDA America's Harvest Box is a bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food to people who need assistance feeding themselves and their families -- and all of it is homegrown by American farmers and producers," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a statement. "It maintains the same level of food value as SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] participants currently receive, provides states flexibility in administering the program, and is responsible to the taxpayers."

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) argues that government-packed food boxes would simply be inefficient.

"As we understand the proposal in the president's budget to create a USDA commodity foods box of staples, each of these achievements would be lost,” FMI's Jennifer Hatcher said. "Perhaps this proposal would save money in one account, but based on our decades of experience in the program, it would increase costs in other areas that would negate any savings.”

Read more about the proposal here.