New SNAP Stocking Rules: Take Action Now

As we reported before,  SNAP retailer requirements have changed, and these changes will impact your c-store in the immediate future Per the changes made to the retailer qualifications, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will begin implementing these finalized rules this month.  You can view FNS’s webinar and download their one pager for more help preparing for the changes.

Beginning January 17, 2018:

  • SNAP retailers must have three (3) varieties of food in each of the four (4) “staple food” categories:
    • Dairy
    • Meat, poultry, or fish
    • Bread or cereal
    • Vegetables or fruits
  • SNAP retailers must stock three (3) units of each variety.
  • At least one (1) item in two (2) of the “staple food” categories must be perishable (food that will spoil within 2-3 weeks).
  • The definition of “accessory food” has been updated to include:
    • Potato Chips
    • Cookies
    • Soda
      • You can find the full definition of “Accessory Food Items” as published by FNS here.
  • Accessory food items are not considered staple foods and are not counted towards the new stocking requirements.
  • FNS permits a retailer to demonstrate compliance with the new stocking requirements via receipts or invoices that prove the necessary items were purchased up to 21 days before the date of an FNS agency inspection.

These additional rule implementations are a part of the rule changes that were finalized in 2016.  In October 2017, FNS implemented the “hot foods” provision of these rule changes that states:

  • Retailers will be disqualified from the SNAP program if 50% or more of the store’s total gross sales come from foods that are cooked or heated on site (before or after purchase).

The finalized rule states that eventually SNAP retailers will have to stock seven (7) varieties of food in each of the four (4) staple food categories.  However, this provision has been delayed due to the difficulties that will exist for small format stores like convenience stores.  Congress requires that FNS change their definition of “variety” before these rules can take effect.  The proposal of this new definition is anticipated some time in this first quarter of 2018. We will keep you posted as to the status of these new regulations so you can make sure to keep your business in compliance.