The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Retail Stores, And Farmers Markets

Are you the owner or a worker of a farmers' market or retail food store who want your store to be a part of SNAP? The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a federal program managed by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), which helps in providing nutrition benefits for low-income families or individuals. SNAP is administered through a network of FNS field offices all over the country. The local offices are responsible for the monitoring and licensing of retail food establishments participating in the program.

To qualify as a store in SNAP, your store should sell food for preparation and consumption at homes and adhere to one of the criteria below:

Criterion A: Selling at least three varieties of eligible foods in each of the four staple food groups, including perishable foods in at least a couple of the said categories for sale, on a continuous basis:

  • meat, poultry or fish
  • vegetables or fruits
  • bread or cereal
  • dairy products


Criterion B: More than half (50%) of the store's total dollar amount of all the retail sales for food, non-food, gas, and services which are sold in the establishment should be from the sale of qualified staple foods.


Continuous basis - on any day of operation, the store should normally offer qualifying staple food items for sale and display in a public area, with no less than three various varieties of food items for each of the staple food categories.

Perishable foods - items which are either frozen staple food stuff; or, fresh, refrigerated or unrefrigerated staple food items which will suffer significant deterioration in quality or spoil within 2 to 3 weeks.

Variety - several types of foods, like cabbage, squash, and apples in the vegetable or fruit category; or, cheese, butter, and milk in the dairy category.

Retail sales - comprise all retail sales of the establishment including non-food, food, gas and services like games, rental fees, lottery and dry cleaners. But, fees directly connected with the processing of staple foods like poultry, fish, and raw meat, may be counted as staple food sales included within Criterion B.

Staple foods - not including accessory foods like coffee; cocoa; soda; tea; non-carbonated drinks like sports drinks, flavored waters, and punches; candy; spices; condiments; hot foods; or, foods which are ready to go or made for take-out, such as prepared sandwiches or salads.

Note that ineligible establishments comprise, but are not limited to, stores which are selling accessory foods or ice cream only, specialty doughnut shops, and restaurants. This includes establishments which are primarily selling prepared foods which are sold for carryout or consumed on the premises.