Milling & Baking News - June 14, 2011 - (Page 11)

Stimulus boost for SNAP helps avert diminished food security WASHINGTON — Despite the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, the number of food insecure households declined in 2009, thanks in part to a temporary broadening of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamps). According to research conducted by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about half a million fewer households were food insecure in 2009 than would have been expected, and a slightly smaller figure were very food insecure than would have occurred without the stimulus. The study of the program, which examined the impact on food security following the 2009 economic stimulus package, was published in the June issue of Amber Waves magazine. The study was written by Mark Nord and Mark Prell of the E.R.S. The U.S.D.A. tracks data on food security through surveys of families (the Census Bureau gathers the data with U.S.D.A. funding). Questions in the survey cover a range of food access issues, from worrying about running out of food to not eating for an entire day. The questions specify money or other resources as the cause of the behavior, to ensure that dieting is not the cause. Food insecure households are, at times, unable to acquire enough food to sustain an active, healthy life for everyone in the household. Very low food security is a severe range of food insecurity “characterized by reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns of one or more household members due to inadequate resources for food,” the E.R.S. said. While economic expansion was the purpose of the stimulus package, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (A.R.R.A.), the E.R.S. study looked at the impact of the heavier SNAP funding on affected families. The A.R.R.A. expanded eligibility for SNAP benefits to jobless adults without children, with the increase in benefits tied to the number of qualifying people in a household. For example, benefits for a family of four increased by $80 per month. The stimulus program also suspended rules limiting how long unemployed participants could receive benefits. Summarizing their findings, the / E.R.S. said “SNAP enhancements” under the stimulus program “increased food spending by lowincome households and improved their food security during unusually challenging economic times.” The U.S.D.A.’s largest food and nutrition assistance program, SNAP benefits were provided to 31.8 million people in December 2008, equating to 10.6% of the U.S. population. The the study found. “Furthermore, the prevalence of very low food security measured during the 30-day period prior to each survey declined somewhat from 2008 to 2009, and the decline was greatest for households with income near or below the poverty line.” Drilling deeper into the actual impact of the A.R.R.A. on SNAP, the study noted a 25% increase in program participation between December 2008 and December 2009. “Much of this increase was due to increased economic hardship as the Percentage of households with very low food security 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 0% 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 Note: Very low food security is a severe range of food insecurity characterized by reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns of one or more household members (usually adults) due to inadequate resources for food. Source: U.S.D.A., Economic Research Service using statistics from Household Food Security in the United States, 2009 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Annual average unemployment rate Per cent of households with very low food security at any time during the year Percentage of households with very low food security in the month preceding the survey average monthly benefit was $114.80 per person with a total program cost of $37.5 billion. By April 2009, the benefits were going to 13.6% of the population. As an example of the benefits expansion provided by the stimulus to already qualifying families, the E.R.S. said a family of four with monthly net income of $980 qualified for $294 in SNAP benefits before the A.R.R.A. and $374 during the stimulus program, a 27% increase. According to the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S.D.A., which administers SNAP, 39 million people were receiving SNAP benefits by December 2009, eight months after the A.R.R.A. expanded the program. The average benefit was $134.55 per person per month, up 17% from December 2008. Looking at the impact of the program on food security, the E.R.S. said the findings were very positive. “The percentages of households with food insecurity and very low food security were unchanged from 2008 to 2009 despite continued rising unemployment during the year,” recession deepened,” the E.R.S. said. Still, the A.R.R.A. played a role as well, Mr. Prell and Mr. Nord said. They estimated that only half of the 25% increase could be explained by factors such as employment or household income. “Higher post-A.R.R.A. SNAP benefits likely motivated some households to participate that would not have enrolled to receive the lower pre-A.R.R.A. benefits,” they said. “The A.R.R.A. suspension of time limits for jobless adults without children also may have increased participation. Prior to A.R.R.A., SNAP participation by many jobless, working-age, nondisabled adults without children was limited to three months in a threeyear period.” Mr. Prell and Mr. Nord also evaluated the impact of the A.R.R.A. on food spending. “Median food spending by likely SNAP-eligible households in the food security survey was 88.8% of the cost of the Thrifty Food Plan (a model of food types commonly consumed by low-income households) in late 2008,” the E.R.S. said. “Adjusting Milling & Baking News June 14, 2011 / 11  Nutrition and Health

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Milling & Baking News - June 14, 2011

‘Grain chain’ gives unanimous support for MyPlate
Canadian government targets C.W.B. monopoly on wheat marketing
MacLennan named president of Cargill
Celebrations may be premature for bakery fl our buyers
Editorial - Last hope for Doha Round not becoming non-Round
Wayne Turnbull reopens New Orleans bakery
General Mills adds Fiber One 90-Calorie Brownies
Packaged snacks sales reach $64 billion
Nestle joins project of food, genes
G.F.F.: One-ounce servings key to balanced meals
Oldways director offers mixed review of MyPlate
Stimulus boost for SNAP helps avert diminished food security
Smucker full-year profi t falls 3% on restructuring, acquisition costs
Debate likely to rage on, but HFCS demand seen stabilizing in U.S.
Kellogg sets 2010 to the side, looks forward to better 2011
Analyst: Nestle ‘unlikely’ to acquire General Mills
Grain Processing investing $100 million in emission reduction projects
Winter wheat crop forecast for 2011 up 2% from May
Wheat carryover forecast for 2012 lowered to 687 million bus
High fuel prices push shipping costs up; weather slows Upper Midwest rail traffi c
Canadian government targets C.W.B. monopoly on wheat marketing
Irish Pride launches bread with omega-3 fatty acids
Acquisitions help drive revenue gains at Aryzta in quarter
F.A.O. sees no respite from grain price strength and volatility
Gonnella offering scholarship to attend AIB
Paul Ridder named president of Tasty; Charles Pizzi to remain as adviser to Flowers
Chris Delaney named c.e.o. of Goodman Fielder
Bob Klima joins Caravan as business development manager
Fruit powder provides vitamins, fiber
Non-dairy ingredient achieves pareve certification
Products focus on noodle production
Trademark signifi es sustainable palm oil
Enzyme concentrate enhances baking properties of flour
U.S.D.A. raises forecast for 2011-12 world wheat ending stocks
Ingredient Market Trends
Ingredient Week
Marketplace Business Network
Ad Index

Milling & Baking News - June 14, 2011