The Trump administration is proposing to have the Department of Agriculture ship packages of food directly to low-income families in lieu of food stamp benefits. The administration referred to it as a “Blue Apron-type” program, referring to the meal preparation and delivery service.
The food would be sent “in the form of a USDA Foods package, which would include items such as shelf-stable milk, ready-to-eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit, vegetables, and meat, poultry or fish,” according to the White House’s 2019 budget. The government would save money it says, because it would buy the items wholesale, instead of having food stamp recipients buy food at retail prices.
The service is seen as a way of saving money, increasing the nutritional value of benefits and reducing fraud. Some have argued that the Food Stamp program is serving as a form of indirect welfare, rather than nutritional assistance, and is discouraging work. The package would be filled with “100% American grown food,” according to the administration.
The agency said the ultimate goal is to have more than 80% of Food Stamp beneficiaries receive a package and that beneficiaries get half of their benefits in the form the food in the box.