Anna Ready, director of government relations at NACS issued the following statement in response to the Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) proposed definition of “variety” for the retailer eligibility standards for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP):
“We are pleased to see that FNS heeded the calls of Congress to rewrite their definition of ‘variety” in a way that will provide more flexibility for the more than 119,000 convenience stores in the program who provide needed access to food in areas where there is not a large store nearby or during non-traditional hours when most of those stores are closed.”
“Convenience stores and other neighborhood stores face storage and size constraints, as well as delivery limitations, which would have made FNS’s original definition of variety almost impossible to comply with even for the most sophisticated retail operations. As Congress intended, the proposed definition of “variety” will provide retailers with greater flexibility to reach eligibility requirements without making retailers stock items that simply do not sell in their stores or that they do not have the space or capacity to sell.”
“We appreciate the bipartisan efforts of members of Congress who directed FNS to rewrite their definition of “variety” in way that matched the intent of Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill to preserve the role of the small format retailer and increase foods stocked inside the store.
“NACS plans to file comments on the proposal and work with FNS to ensure the final rule provides the greatest possible flexibility for the Program’s retail partners.
“As proud and committed partners in SNAP, the convenience store industry looks forward to continuing to work with Congress, FNS, and the food community to be responsible and innovative participants in meeting the nutritional needs of American families.”