Feds propose to replace food stamps with ‘Blue Apron-like’ program


In the just-released 2019 federal budget proposal from this week, the Trump Administration has suggested cutting aid to low-income families across the nation and making up the difference with a monthly box of food that White House budget director Mick Mulvaney described as being a sort of “Blue Apron” box for food stamp recipients.

Blue Apron is a premium meal ingredient kit-by-mail service that delivers pre-ordered ingredients to customers each week along with suggested recipes which are cooked by customers.

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney testifies before the Senate Budget Committee February 13, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The budget includes the proposal as part of a complete revamp of the SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which now provides low-income families with electronic benefits that can be used to purchase groceries at authorized retailers.

The revised program would cut monthly benefits to about 16 million households, or about 81 percent of those receiving SNAP benefits, supplementing that with what Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue called the USDA America’s Harvest Box.

According to the budget proposal, “households receiving $90 or more per month in SNAP benefits will receive a portion of their benefits 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.”

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No fresh fruits or vegetables were listed among the items in the stable of foods that potentially would be sent to recipients, nor was there any indication of accommodations for health, cultural, religious or regional concerns.

According to the USDA, the amount of food received would be scaled to the overall household’s SNAP allotment and ultimately represent about half of their SNAP benefits. The USDA claims the proposal would save $129.2 billion over the 10-year-period between fiscal years 2019 and 2028.

“It maintains the same level of food value as SNAP participants currently receive, provides states flexibility in administering the program, and is responsible to the taxpayers,” Perdue said in a Department of Agriculture summary.

Copies of US President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year 2019 Government Budget sit on a table at the House Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, February 12, 2018. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

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