Statement from Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA President and CEO, on USDA Update to the SNAP Thrifty Food Plan

WASHINGTON —Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), released the following statement:

“The International Dairy Foods Association is pleased to see the important changes announced today by USDA to the Thrifty Food Plan, which will increase the average SNAP benefit by $36.24 per person, per month, or $1.19 per day, according to USDA. In their analysis of the program, USDA found that 88% of SNAP participants face challenges in accessing a healthy diet and 61% of SNAP participants reported cost as a main barrier. Updating the Thrifty Food Plan should empower SNAP participants to access more of the nutrient-dense foods needed for healthier diets, especially among the food insecure and economically vulnerable. That’s why IDFA and the dairy industry continue to encourage USDA and Congress to look at creative ways to enhance the SNAP program so that it better incentivizes purchases of healthy foods such as dairy, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Not only is the SNAP program an economic driver for food producers and retailers—supporting GDP growth and job creation—it is essential to our nation’s nutrition security.

“Recently, the House and Senate moved closer to appropriating $3 million in FY22 for the SNAP Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive program, which incentivizes SNAP beneficiaries to purchase fluid milk, making it easier for families to get more of the nutrition benefits of milk. USDA is working with the Baylor University Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty to design pilot programs across the country to test different incentives to determine the best way to encourage additional SNAP dairy purchases. IDFA stands in full support of expanding the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive program, especially in light of today’s announcement by USDA.

“The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, like many versions before it, recommend increased intake of dairy products for all Americans because dairy products—like milk, yogurt, and cheese—provide high-quality protein, including milk’s 13 essential nutrients. At present, 90% of the U.S. population, including school-age children, do not consume the recommended levels of dairy consumption, meaning that they are missing out on dairy’s nutritional and health benefits. The changes announced today by USDA will ensure food insecure Americans have more resources to purchase healthy food. We look forward to working with USDA and Congress to ensure programs like SNAP, WIC, school meals, and other federal nutrition programs invest in making healthy foods like dairy more accessible to those in need.”

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The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3.3 million jobs that generate $41.6 billion in direct wages and $753 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.