Beer Sales Spike When Food Stamps Received


A study of food stamp recipients led to an interesting find for one group of college professors. Here is what they found:

When monthly food-stamp distributions fall on a weekend, beer sales to that population jump – by up to 7%.

When food stamp funds are distributed on Saturday or Sunday, monthly sales of beer jump as much as 51 ounces more a month among those eligible for food stamps, the study found. That could be a lot of booze: Close to 23 million households receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, widely known as food stamps, according to the latest government data.

Their research was very extensive and spanned several years.

This jump in beer-buying only appears for food-stamp-eligible households and not for the non-eligible households, according to the report titled “One More Saturday Night: Food Stamp Timing and Monthly Consumption Patterns.”

The authors analyzed data from Nielsen Homescan Consumer Panel Dataset, which includes purchasing information from between 40,000 and 60,000 households in the years from 2004 to 2011. Because the households each use a scanning device, the data includes detailed information about the exact products in the consumer basket including beer and tobacco. What it doesn’t include is what’s spent at bars and restaurants.

You can read the rest of Wall Street Journal article here.