Between 2005 and 2010, the number of businesses certified in the SNAP program went from about 156,000 to nearly 209,000, according to USDA data. There is big money at stake. USDA records show food stamp benefits swelled from $28.5 billion to $64.7 billion in that period.
A sign outside Papa Murphy’s tells customers that EBT can be used at the store in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The number of businesses approved to accept food stamps grew by a third from 2005 to 2010, U.S. Department of Agriculture records show, as vendors from convenience and dollar discount stores to gas stations and pharmacies increasingly joined the growing entitlement program.
Now, restaurants, which typically have not participated in the program, are lobbying for a piece of the action.
Louisville-based Yum! Brands, whose restaurants include Taco Bell, KFC, Long John Silver’s and Pizza Hut, is trying to get restaurants more involved, federal lobbying records show.
That’s a prospect that anti-hunger advocates welcome, but one that worries some current food stamp vendors and public health advocates.