Store Eligibility 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. They are usually prepared at home and eaten as a meal. They do not include prepared foods, heated foods, or accessory foods.
Staple food categories:
- vegetables or fruits
- dairy products
- meat, poultry, or fish
- breads or cereals
A store must have 3 stocking units of 3 different varieties for each staple food category on a continuous basis. For 2 staple food categories, there must be at least 1 perishable variety. Most stores are authorized under Criterion A.
A store must 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.
Other Eligibility Considerations
FNS also takes other factors into account when determining the eligibility of your store. These are included but not limited to:
Need for Access: Stores that do not meet Criterion A or Criterion B are still considered for authorization if they are in an area where SNAP clients have significantly limited access to food.
Restaurants: Generally, SNAP does not allow participants to redeem benefits at restaurants. Your firm is considered a restaurant if more than 50% of your total gross retail sales come from sales of hot or cold prepared foods intended for immediate consumption. Only restaurants located in a State that operates the Restaurant Meals Program (RMP) State Option can participate in SNAP.
Co-Location: When multiple firms operating at the same location meet certain elements, FNS will consider them a single firm when determining eligibility for SNAP authorization.