Food Stamps: Changing The Brand and Purpose

By: Saira Malhotra

Food stamps have been around since 1977. Even today, the principle is the same, but the packaging has changed. Now known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), the paper coupons have been switched out to debit card 'look-alikes', however, the principle is ultimately the same 'to provide assistance to low income families.'

What brought about this change in branding that served the country well for so many years? The USDA became aware of the sense of humiliation that Americans attached to Food Stamps and this prompted the new look and feel. This was timely as the economy was on a sharp decline and it enabled families to avail of benefits they were entitled to.

In recent years, the topic of food stamps has resurfaced in another light. In the country's strife to address the obesity crisis, certain players, such as Mayor Bloomberg, have tried to curb what they consider unhealthy food and beverages, such as soda. The USDA is not able to meet Mayor Bloomberg's request as there are "No clear standards exist for defining foods as good or bad, or healthy or not healthy," (according to a USDA paper written in 2007).

While there are many people that are on board with Mayor Bloomberg, some people feel that this supports the very stigma which prevented people from using food stamp before the rebranding. They are of the opinion that other platforms should be used to encourage better eating habits rather than disempowering people from eating and drinking what they choose.

What's your take? Help people make the right choice or choose for them?

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Photo: NCReedplayer