On days food stamps are issued, grocery stores push soda sales—but only in low-income neighborhoods

May 31st, 2018
by H. Claire Brown

A new study shows stores in neighborhoods with high SNAP enrollment are four times as likely to advertise or display sugary drinks during the days payments are disbursed.

Most people spend a little extra money on payday. In Iceland, for instance, half the population spends 25 percent more than usual on the day paychecks are issued. This isn’t lost on grocery stores, unsurprisingly, which commonly raise prices when people have more spending money. But new research reveals an overlooked method retailers use to capture more of that first-of-the-month paycheck: by ramping up soda marketing, especially to low-income shoppers.

A new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine indicates that retailers are more likely to market soda during the days of the month when people receive money from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps). The research, which focuses on three cities in upstate New York, shows that stores in census tracts with high SNAP enrollment are more than four times more likely to advertise or display sugary drinks during the days SNAP payments are disbursed.

Read about this study here: https://newfoodeconomy.org/stores-push-soda-days-food-stamp-recipients-get-money/

…stores are 1.9 times as likely to display sugary drinks prominently [] on SNAP issuance days as compared to the rest of the month, and the prevalence of soda advertisements was [] 1.7 times the average volume during benefit disbursement. When the researchers accounted for income level, the results were even more stark. While higher-income communities saw no change in soda marketing across the month, communities with high levels of SNAP reliance—at least 28 percent enrollment—were 4.35 times as likely to put up soda displays during the days where people received their SNAP benefits.