Grocery Industry Update - July

SNAP benefits continue to dominate the news for supermarket operators.  P-EBT funds have been loaded onto Lone Star Cards and the total is over $3.5 Billion.  A little over 50% has been spent by customers and applications for P-EBT are being approved weekly by the State Agency.  In addition, the additional benefits up to max. family size were approved for July.  These additional funds could reach $96 million.  Of note, the regular SNAP benefits are slightly less than last year and the number of families receiving regular SNAP has decreased slightly.  This is due to the fact, this time last year, we were in the middle of the pandemic and more people were unemployed.

The State Agency has made application to USDA FNS applying for summer P-EBT.  This program would compensate families who have children on free or reduced lunch during the regular school year.  If approved, these funds would be loaded onto Lone Stare Cards at the end of September.

The State Agency continues to hold daily calls to update interested parties regarding the issuance of additional SNAP funds.  Please see the Food Council Blog on the TRA website for any up to date information.

WIC statistics continue to be fairly constant with sales of WIC products running about 0.8 less than last year.  Almost 700,000 individuals primarily females are receiving WIC benefits monthly.

Texas WIC has approved some additional brands and UPC’s in the areas of breakfast products like cereal, yogurt, and cheese.  Please see the Food Council Blog for the total list.

Texas WIC has been conducting some client (customer) satisfaction surveys.  For the most part, supermarkets receive high marks for customer service.  However the redemption of the additional funds for fruits and vegetables has come up.  Customers have given feedback, in some cases, fresh produce does not scan properly.  The updating of UPC or PLU codes may be the issue.  The UPC’s could change due to different suppliers, growers or manufacturers.  Accurate scanning of the additional benefits will increase sales and provide customer satisfaction.

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