EBT Stocking

Understanding EBT, SNAP stocking requirements for...

A Store Owner's Guide to EBT Stocking Criteria from FNS

This resource will help new SNAP retailers understand the FNS stocking criteria required to get started with accepting EBT sales at their stores. To ensure SNAP recipients have ample access to staple foods, the Food and Nutrition Services requires that SNAP retailers stock a specific selection of items.

How to Meet Stocking Requirments
for SNAP Eligibility

According to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), SNAP
authorized stores must meet one of two staple food requirements:

Criterion A

staple food inventory

Criterion B

staple food sales

Criterion A

Most convenience stores, small grocers and other retailers are authorized under Criterion A.
Under Criterion A, a store must have 3 stocking units of 3 different varieties for each of
the 4 staple food categories on a continuous basis.

(3×3) × 4 = 36

This is a total of 36 foods that must
be stocked at any given time.

1 in 2

There must be 1 perishable item
in 2 of the staple food categories.


What might this look like for your store?

+ fruits

  • 3x 100%
    orange juice
  • 3x 100%
    apple juice
  • 3x 100%
    fresh bananas


  • 3x milk
  • 3x yogurt
  • 3x formula

Breads +

  • 3x loaf of
  • 3x pasta
  • 3x bagels

Meat + poultry
+ fish

  • 3x canned
    tuna fish
  • 3x beef
  • 3x fresh / liquid

What are staple foods?

Staple foods are the basic food that make up a significant portion of a person’s diet
and do not include prepared foods, heated foods or accessory foods (food items
that complement meals). Staple foods can be divided into four categories:

Vegetables or fruits

Dairy products

Meat, poultry or fish

Breads or cereals

What food items really qualify for
SNAP or food stamps as staple foods?

There are a number of foods that you already stock or could easily add to your shelves that will satisfy the stocking requirement. Foods like apples, oranges and potatoes qualify in the vegetable or fruit category, but so do applesauce, orange juice and frozen tater tots.

Stocking perishable items in two categories may be one of the more challenging requirements for retailers, but there are many items that qualify as perishable that you likely already have in your store.

Click on each image below to see examples of FNS-approved foods
for each staple category.
Items with an asterisk (*) are perishable.

+ fruits

Vegetables + fruits

  • Potatoes*
  • Frozen tater tots*
  • 100% orange juice*
  • Fresh Oranges*
  • Canned
    tomato soup
  • Dried apples
  • Pre-cut apple
  • Fresh bananas*
  • Pre-cut and bagged romaine lettuce*
  • Canned
    pineapple rings


Dairy Products

  • Fresh deli
    sliced cheese*
  • Packaged grated
    parmesan cheese
  • Whole milk*
  • Refigerated
    almond milk*
  • Shelf-stable
    almond milk*
  • Fresh salted butter*
  • Margarine*
  • Fresh whole milk
    vanilla yogurt*

Breads +

Breads + Cereals

  • A loaf of
    multigrain bread*
  • Dried pasta
  • Corn or
    flour tortillas*
  • Plain bagels*
  • Rice- or
    oat-based cereal
  • Frozen dinner rolls*
  • Hot dog buns*
  • A bag of rice
  • Whole wheat pita*

Meat +
Poultry + Fish

Meat + Poultry + Fish

  • Fresh deli-sliced
  • Fresh
    chicken cutlets*
  • Frozen chicken
  • Fresh
    groud beef*
  • Beef jerky
  • Canned albacore
    tuna fish
  • Fresh
    sliced ham*
  • Fresh
    chicken eggs*

Download the USDA SNAP Staple Foods Guide

This FNS document provides the USDA’s definitions of staple foods and
includes additional information regarding foods that are NOT covered by
SNAP, such as prepared foods, heated foods, or accessory foods.
One of our friendly representatives would be happy to assist you.

Not Sure if You Qualify for EBT?

We recommend taking our quick 10 question quiz to find out if your store meets all of the requirements for SNAP retailers or what you are missing.

Criterion B

Under Criterion B, a store must have more than 50% of its total gross retail sales
from the sale of staple foods. Most convenience stores do not fit under this
model, as specialty stores are more commonly authorized under Criterion B.

Criterion B Calculation + Requirements

Total Gross
Retail Sales

(Gasoline, Lottery, Alcohol, Tobacco, Other Non-food)

Prepared / Heated
Food Sales
Food Sales
Food Sales


We are here to help!

Not sure where to start? goEBT’s EBT NOW consultants can help. Simply call 855.826.0920 or click the button to complete the form and we will contact you.

Increased SNAP Benefits Could Mean More Opportunities for Your Business

For the first time in 45 years, the average SNAP benefit has permanently increased by +25%. With more than 42 million Americans in need, the increase in SNAP benefits could mean new opportunities for your business. Given transactions fees might also increase, unlimited EBT processing is more important than ever.

Learn more about unlimited EBT processing with goEBT.

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SNAP retailer or explore if you are eligible to get started right now with
EBT cash benefits, please call 855.826.0920 or select contact us below.
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