to support this definition. Based on this assessment, the committee set the program goals of improving food security and access to a healthy diet as boundaries within which to identify the factors that should be examined as elements of this definition. The committee’s conclusions about the role of these factors as components of an objective definition of the adequacy of SNAP allotments are presented below. The chapter then presents the committee’s recommendations for how USDA-FNS should approach using these factors to formulate this definition, how it should monitor assessment of the adequacy of SNAP allotments, and what it should do to meet additional research needs. The chapter ends with a discussion of other research considerations and a brief summary. It should be noted that the committee did consider the impact of several assumptions of the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), as well as aspects of how the plan is implemented, on the definition of the adequacy of SNAP allotments, but did not make recommendations for modifying these assumptions.


The committee’s conclusions derive from its findings about the evidence reviewed, as presented in Chapters 3 through 5. These conclusions formed the basis for the recommendations that follow.

Conclusion 1: The Adequacy of SNAP Benefit Allotments Can Be Defined

Based on the available evidence, it is feasible to define objectively the adequacy of SNAP allotments. Doing so entails identifying the factors that affect the ability of participants to attain food security and access to a healthy diet. The committee’s review of the evidence found that it is possible to identify those factors, and the committee has done so in its framework and in the following two conclusions and the findings that support them. The available evidence has some limitations, but it is possible to obtain the evidence needed for a science-driven definition of allotment adequacy. First, evidence must be taken into account on the degree to which specific individual, household, and environmental factors influence SNAP participants’ purchasing power, given a dollar value of their SNAP benefits. Second, evidence must be taken into account on impacts of factors related to the computation of the dollar value of the SNAP allotment itself, as well as other SNAP program characteristics.

Conclusion 2: The Adequacy of SNAP Allotments Is Influenced
by Individual, Household, and Environmental Factors

Evidence obtained by the committee in its data gathering workshop and in its review and assessment of the literature revealed that the opportunity

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