Donald “Blue Apron” Trump and Co. Come Up With “Food In A Box” for SNAP Recipients

This is nuts:

The Trump administration is proposing a major shake-up in one of the country’s most important “safety net” programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps. Under the proposal, most SNAP recipients would lose much of their ability to choose the food they buy with their SNAP benefits.

The proposal is included in the Trump administration budget request for fiscal year 2019. It would require approval from Congress.

Under the proposal, which was announced Monday, low-income Americans who receive at least $90 a month — just over 80 percent of all SNAP recipients — would get about half of their benefits in the form of a “USDA Foods package.” The package was described in the budget as consisting of “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.” The boxes would not include fresh fruits or vegetables.

I’m not even sure what to say. No fruits or vegetables? This is beyond stupid. I have questions. Fortunately, Annie Lowery asked them first:

1. What if you don’t receive your box one month?
2. What if you’re homeless?
3. What if you don’t have a place to receive mail?
4. What if you move frequently?
5. What if you have allergies?
6. What if the box gets wet, or animals get into it?
7. What if your kid is a fussy eater?
8. What if you’re a fussy eater?
9. What about the end of the month?
10. Will the value be the same?
11. What about the stores in your town?
12. What about fresh fruits and veggies?
13. What if you don’t have electricity or gas to cook?
14. Why?
15. No, really, why? What problem does this solve?
16. Is the value of the box the same as the value of the SNAP?
17. Okay, but isn’t the value of the box lower, given fungibility and all that?
18. Did folks on SNAP ask for this?
19. Did anti-hunger advocates?


29. What’s the overhead cost?
30. What role do states have in SNAP?
31. Should states be able to opt out?
32. Should families be able to opt out?
33. Any pilots of this program? Anywhere?
34. Have you looked at studies of ration systems?
35. What’s more important: cost or calories?
36. Are you going to aim for a calorie count?
37. Any sense of the direct impact on nutrition?
38. Any doctors consulted on the nutrition impact?
39. Anything else in the box other than food?


44. Should there be religious exemptions?
45. How about cultural exemptions? Should all people have to eat the same food?
46. Should the boxes be the same regionally? What about location-based cost differentials?
47. Have you tried a box yourself?

There’s more at the link.

And who thinks this would be cost effective? Will these boxes be delivered, or will they have to be picked up? What if you don’t have a car… or a home? (And you’d need a car for a box that contains a months worth of food.) This is a logistical nightmare.

What if your box is stolen off your porch/hallway?

Here’s another question: “It isn’t clear whether the boxes will come with directions on how to cook the foods inside. “It could be something that [SNAP recipients] don’t even know how to make,” notes Miguelina Diaz, whose team at Hunger Free America works directly with families to help them access food aid. “We deal with different people of different backgrounds. Limiting them by providing them a staple box would limit the choices of food they can prepare for their families.”

They have not thought this through. And just like everything else with Trump and Co., this will end up costing more and offering less.

Also… shelf stable milk? No. Just no.



14 comments on “Donald “Blue Apron” Trump and Co. Come Up With “Food In A Box” for SNAP Recipients

  1. It would be a logistical nightmare and I cannot see how it would not be more expensive, the cost of preparing and boxing the food would be high, as noted the chances for a non delivery are high. As with all things Republican I suspect a scheme to enrich certain individuals who are probably already rich and politically well connected.

    • It’s not meant to work… at least with “work” being defined as helping the needy stay fed.
      I think they dont realize how many of their own voters are on food stamps.

    • I hear ya! Does Trump own a box company? 😉

      It will be really expensive, but the emotional pull of controlling poor people will be strong for Republicans. They love them some Big Brother.

      The more I think about this, the more ridiculous it is. Peanut butter can’t be included due to peanut allergies, so how many different type boxes are we talking about? This reeks of food rationing. Clipping coupons, ten for ten and buy one get one free deals to stretch your money and increase your food supply is gone.

      This idea, besides being a logistical mess, displays how completely out of touch Republicans are about poverty. Fashioning a SNAP plan based on a food service utilized by those with money ignores everything that needs to be in place for the service to work. You need a home for delivery, and given the housing insecurity among poor people there’s no guarantee that the delivery address will remain the same. I can’t even imagine the nonsense involved with changing addresses – and not sure what would happen to the homeless. You need someone home to accept the package – like I said, a month’s supply of food can’t be picked up in a lot of cases because many people do not own a car. Feel free to add your own reasons why this is nuts.

      It’s already expensive to be poor.

    • I suspect it will “work” like Medicare Part D, where the Feds agree not to negotiate for the price

  2. cassandram

    This is similar to the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) program. Lots of canned and shelf-stable foods in lieu of SNAP. I think this program exists because many of these areas don’t have good access to typical grocery stores.

    It’s a stunning display of nanny-stateism. But not too much of a surprise from people who think that poor people, people of color and women really should be subject to their control.

  3. “But not too much of a surprise from people who think that poor people, people of color and women really should be subject to their control.”
    Typical racist comment, why! I agree that unfortunately, people of color are the highest % of the poor population, but there are also whites, which are also part of that.

    • cassandram

      So even your clueless comment admits that these are the people that are being targeted.

      And it isn’t racist to point out facts. And you need a dictionary to understand how to use both the word “racist” and “facts”.

    • People who use SNAP:

      SNAP eligibility rules require that participants be at or below 130% of the Federal Poverty Level. Recent studies show that 44% of all SNAP participants are children (age 18 or younger), with almost two-thirds of SNAP children living in single-parent households. In total, 76% of SNAP benefits go towards households with children, 11.9% go to households with disabled persons, and 10% go to households with senior citizens.

      According to demographic data, 39.8% of SNAP participants are white, 25.5% are African-American, 10.9% are Hispanic, 2.4% are Asian, and 1% are Native American.

      But white people aren’t the audience for this “Blue Apron” tactic. This is right out Ronald Reagan’s playbook – “strapping young buck ahead of you in line buying a T-bone steak”. This is designed as a way to point fingers at welfare queens (another Reagan ploy) and prey on people’s prejudices and racism. This is exactly the same thing as those Republicans who called Obama the Food Stamp President. The dog whistle couldn’t be louder.

      I doubt this plan will happen, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to reinforce the mindset that poor people (mainly black and brown people and women) are cheating the system and need to be controlled. It’s about undermining SNAP.

    • Damn lies, statistics. The majority of people in poverty are not white, but just barely. Meanwhile the total number of white people in poverty dwarfs the number of any single other ethnic group.

  4. I agreed, with you. It’s not just people of color! It’s poor people, no matter what their color or sex. Men are also part of this. Let people eat what they want, do we want them to have a nutritious meal, of course. Everything is already spelled out in the SNAP program.

  5. UHT (shelf stable) milk isn’t really a thing in the US outside of disaster relief zones and some overseas military bases. Someone in or related to the Trump administration has a financial interest in the increased manufacture of shelf stable milk. Believe me.

    What Republicans propose here is eliminating the self-serve aspect of SNAP and TANF in favor of creating an entirely new product packing, shipping, and delivery enterprise requiring management and oversight run by the Federal gov’t as a method of “saving money” that has no factual or statistical evidence indicating it will 1) actually save money 2) keep similar or higher numbers of people fed, or 3) Not actually cost more money. pandora’s list of questions is exhausting yet they are all questions that any halfway-intelligent institution should, at minimum, have asked about let alone have answers for prior to proposing a change of this magnitude. Guaranteed no one in TrumpCo gives a shit about any of them.

    If you’re not white, straight, “Christian”, wealthy, or a man The Grand Old Party would like to step on your face.

    • That’s what they mean by Small Government. Jesus, these people. I can’t wait for their treason trials to start.

  6. @Brian
    “Fortunately, Annie Lowery asked them first:” Just giving credit, where credit is due!

  7. They hate “gun control”, but they’re super excited to roll out Food Control. Oh, those “small government” Republicans, with their “states rights” and their “fiscal conservatism” and their “America firsts” and their “law and order” and their “Christian values” and all those other things they pretend to care about when it’s temporarily convenient to their real goals: 1. Profit 2. Screw the vulnerable 3. Stay in power at all costs

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