In this study we use detailed daily scanner data on household food purchases to examine monthly food expenditure patterns across food retail channels. We compare food expenditure patterns in high and low-income households comparing those where Supplementary Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) is received in the first 10. days of the month versus households which receive SNAP over the first 15. days of the month. We find that food expenditure patterns vary systematically across the month within different retail channels by income and SNAP payment schedules. Low-income households in early SNAP distribution areas decrease their grocery and mass/club/superstore expenditures at the end of the calendar month and supplement this decrease with increased food expenditures in convenience stores and food away from home. Households in staggered SNAP payment areas show far fewer systematic patterns given the more distributed payment system.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was funded by the Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture and by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station. However, opinions and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ERS-USDA or the University of Minnesota. All errors are our own.
- Food retail
- Household consumption patterns
- Low-income food consumption
- SNAP payments