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How Low-Income Households Allocate Their Food Budget Relative to the Cost of the Thrifty Food Plan

by Noel Blisard and Hayden Stewart

Economic Research Report No. (ERR-20) 29 pp, August 2006

Cover image Low-income households that participate in the Food Stamp Program can achieve a healthy diet if they use the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) as a guide for their food shopping. Most studies measuring the degree to which low-income households follow the TFP have compared total household food expenditures—for food at home as well as food away from home—to the TFP. The present study looked at total expenditures, but the emphasis is on how low-income households allocate their budget relative to the TFP for food at home. To determine whether some types of households are more likely than others to budget their food purchases in accordance with TFP benchmarks, and to identify households that might benefit most from nutrition education programs, the study compared actual and TFP expenditures for four household categories.

Keywords: Thrifty Food Plan, low-income households, food consumption, food assistance programs, Consumer Expenditure Survey

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Last updated: Tuesday, July 16, 2013

For more information contact: Noel Blisard and Hayden Stewart