Since the 2008 economic depression in the United States the demand for food stamps, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), has increased. It is estimated that nearly 50 million Americans are currently using the food stamp system. The enrollment of food stamp users has increased 8.1% in the past year.
The difference in policy between food stamps of the programs original concept, and that of today is that today: People whom are unable to cook for them selves, be it homeless, disabled, or the elderly, can redeem their food vouchers for a hot meal from approved fast food eateries such as McDonald's, Taco Bell, KFC, Wendy's, etc. In 2010 fast food restaurants collectively received revenue of 21 million dollars.
Now, fast food giant, YUM! Brands, which owns Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, A&W, Wing Street, and Long John Silvers, is lobbying government officials to allow it's restaurants to participate in the SNAP. Yum!, wants to be able to redeem in store food stamp cards to provide "nutritious" meals to low income Americans.
At present SNAP places restrictions on food stamp purchases. Food stamps cannot be redeemed for alcohol, cigarettes, pet food vitamins or hot foods. Only 85% of food stamps are redeemed at grocery stores. This means that the classification to determine individuals who are unable to cook a hot meal has risen.
Yum!, believes that if food stamp restriction are decreased and that if the restaurant brands can persuade local governments to support the redemption of food stamp card directly in stores, that the fast food company will be able to help provide millions of Americans with "healthy foods," says Jim Wayne a Representative for YUM!
Fast Food, however isn't really food. It's loaded with preservatives and is a mixture of cost leadership ingredients. Fast Food, regardless of where it is served is not really a healthy way to eat. If Yum!, succeeds and is able to convince local regulators of the value that in store food stamp redemptions create it will only hurt the SNAP program, and Americans in need of assistance, in the long run. SNAP was conceived to assist Americans in need of proper nutrition; not to provide cheap fatty nutritionally void meals that are proven culprits of medical disasters.