Increased enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in Georgia contributed to the growth of grocery retailers at all levels from 2007 to 2014.
A new paper co-authored by Foods and Nutrition professor Jung Sun Lee and other University of Georgia researchers used U. S. Department of Agriculture and Georgia Division of Family and Children Services data sets to track the increase in retailers accepting SNAP benefits during what is known as the Great Recession.
The publicly available data suggest that increased enrollment in the program improves access to food for SNAP beneficiaries by acting as an indirect subsidy to retailers.
The study, "Growth in SNAP Retailers Was Associated With Increased Client Enrollment in Georgia During the Great Recession," was published in the November issue of Health Affairs. The paper connects enrollment increases with the growth in the number of food retailers.
The researchers divided food stores into four categories: large, midsize, small and specialty retailers. Between 2008 and 2011, the number of SNAP enrollees increased by 87 percent; between 2007 and 2014, the number of SNAP retailers in Georgia increased by 82 percent, primarily due to growth in the number of small retailers.
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