Report: Soda is #1 Purchased Item by Food Stamp Users

For decades, taxpayer advocates have demanded that food stamps only be used for the most basic food groups. Food stamp proponents have always demonized them even as the program has exploded in spending.

Now no more speculation is needed as a report has been released showing the once secretly held data.

The findings show that the No. 1 purchases by SNAP households are soft drinks, which accounted for about 10 percent of the dollars they spent on food

The report was based on data from an unnamed, nationwide grocery chain, which provided the U.S.D.A. with monthly records of food items bought in 2011 by more than 26 million households, about three million of them food stamp recipients. The grocery chain identified and tracked SNAP households by their use of SNAP benefit cards at the checkout aisle. 

SNAP households spent 9.3 percent of their grocery budgets on soft drinks alone. That was slightly higher than the 7.1 percent figure for households that do not receive food stamps.

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