To find out if your store is eligible to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), please review the information on this page.
Staple Food Requirements
SNAP authorized stores must meet one of two staple food requirements: Criterion A (staple food inventory) or Criterion B (staple food sales).
Staple foods are the basic foods that make up a significant portion of a person’s diet and are usually prepared at home and eaten as a meal. Staple foods do not include prepared foods, heated foods, or accessory foods. For more information about staple foods, please see the What are Staple Foods? document located at the bottom of this webpage.
There are 4 staple food categories:
- vegetables or fruits;
- dairy products;
- meat, poultry, or fish;
- breads or cereals.
Criterion A requires a store to stock, on a continuous basis, a certain variety and quantity of staple foods in each of the 4 staple food categories, including some perishable staple foods. Most stores are authorized under Criterion A.
Criterion B requires a store to have more than 50 percent of its total gross retail sales from the sale of staple foods. Specialty stores, like butcher shops, are often authorized under Criterion B.
For more information on Criteria A and B eligibility, please see Retailer Eligibility – Clarification of Criterion A and Criterion B Requirements and watch the SNAP Staple Food Requirements Video which is located at the bottom of this webpage.
Other Eligibility Considerations
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) may also take other factors into account when determining the eligibility of your store, including but not limited to:
Need for Access
Stores that do not meet Criterion A or Criterion B are further considered for authorization if they are located in an area where SNAP clients have significantly limited access to food. For information on how need for access is considered, please see Retailer Eligibility – Need for Access Consideration for Firms that Fail to Meet Criterion A or B.
With very few exceptions, SNAP does not allow participants to redeem benefits at restaurants. If your firm is a restaurant in that more than 50% of your total gross retail sales come from sales of hot or cold prepared foods not intended for home preparation and/or home consumption, your firm is ineligible to participate in SNAP. Additional guidance can be found at Retailer Eligibility – Restaurants and Retailer Eligibility – Prepared Foods and Heated Foods.
Other Retailer Eligibility Resources
Questions? Please contact RPMDHQ-Web@fns.usda.gov