CHICAGO – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, along with rising food costs and increasing rates of food insecurity, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics commends the U.S. Department of Agriculture for reevaluating the Thrifty Food Plan, as Congress required, to improve access to nutritious, healthful food to underserved communities.
The Department of Agriculture has updated the Thrifty Food Plan, which is used to calculate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. This update increases the average SNAP benefit by 21%, or $36.24 per person per month, starting Oct. 1. This action will affect 42 million Americans.
"This update is a crucial step in addressing nutrition security, which continues to be one of the Academy's top priorities," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Kevin L. Sauer. "The modernization of the Thrifty Food Plan aligns with the Academy’s commitment to improve the health of Americans by ensuring access to nutritious, affordable food."
A recent study from the USDA found that 81% of SNAP participants reported challenges to accessing healthful foods; 61% attributing those challenges to the affordability of healthful foods given the shortcomings of SNAP allotments.
The Academy has long supported a reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan and has provided recommendations to the USDA on calculating SNAP benefits. Academy recommendations have included conducting the review with a cultural humility lens and aligning the plan with the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
"The Academy continues to educate the public on how to improve their nutritional habits and will continue to engage with government agencies to improve the health of all Americans," Sauer said.
Representing more than 112,000 credentialed nutrition and dietetics practitioners, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.