This is from the 2016 SNAP retailer data report from USDA/FNS, found here
. This is the kind of data that we need to pore over and gather data at the market level to compare and contrast.
Some quick data and my thoughts:
• 53 percent of the 366,972 households that shopped at a farmers’ market or direct marketing farmer made one purchase; another 18 percent made two purchases; and 29 percent made three or more purchases within the year. These percentages have remained relatively unchanged over the last five fiscal years.
So 53% only made a single purchase using their benefit card… This may correspond with the analysis from my 2013 VT Market Currency report that markets were then using a whole bunch of money and time to attract shoppers who are either at the end of their time on the SNAP rolls, or are new to SNAP and need more assistance in using their benefits, or that markets have not yet made enough changes to be welcoming for that shopping base to use their benefits at markets. So this data should be crunched with what part of that 53% has been enrolled on SNAP for ___ period of months.
The other way we should analyze this would be compared to our cash/credit shoppers too, which means we need to collect that data too in the same way. That is the kind of comparison that would tell us what the best initial strategy is for SNAP shoppers.
• In fiscal year 2016, program recipients made 1,095,107 purchases at farmers’ markets and direct marketing farmers nationwide. The average purchase amount was $18.60.•
Almost 1.1 million purchases has a nice ring to it. Of course so does 10 million.That would be a great goal for the market field: 10,000,000 purchases at markets and with dmfs in a single FY by 2019. Sometimes the obsession over only measuring total dollar amount spent limits the strategy for increasing actual uses of benefits in ways that are more useful in retail terms…
• 366,972 SNAP households made at least one purchase at a farmers’ market in fiscal year 2016. Households shopping at farmers’ markets spent $55.51 on average over the course of the year.
• More SNAP benefits were redeemed at farmers’ markets and direct marketing farmers in fiscal year 2016 during August than any other month of the year.
Some of this data needs to be released per state, as the August spike is likely not true in the Southern states. It’d also be great to see here which week or days of the month it spiked as well.