What Do You Know About the Thrifty Food Plan?

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The USDA updated its Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) last week, and I'm here to give you all the details.

The 2021 TFP is an "evidence-driven reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, which is the lowest cost of four USDA Food Plans. By law, the cost of the June Thrifty Food Plan serves as the basis for the maximum Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit allotments in the following Federal fiscal year."

In other words, this edition is a revised version of the plan that came before it, adjusted to reflect more recent evidence. Of the four food plans outlined by the USDA, the TFP is the cheapest.

So what does a new plan mean? Shelley Maniscalco lays out the most important takeaway in her article, 2021 Thrifty Food Plan – Widespread Appeal and Potential Impact. In it, she reveals that "as of October 1, 2021, SNAP participants will receive $36.24 more per person/month (an additional $1.19 per day). With these additional funds will come a mandate to support SNAP participants in using the additional benefits to build healthy eating patterns for themselves and their families."

Moreover, according to the plan itself, "This reevaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan
represents an important step toward supporting food security and nutrition security in the United States. For the first time in more than 45 years, the Thrifty Food Plan is not constrained by cost neutrality." That's HUGE!

The TFP itself is a great resource for your audience too. There are tons of requests for budget meals and shopping techniques, and "The TFP calculates the minimum amount of money it would take a composite family of four to eat healthfully on a given day, week, and month" (source). How helpful is that? There are even sample "baskets" presented that outline possible healthful options, based on existing eating patterns.

So check out the 2021 Thrifty Food Plan and let me know how you're going to use it!


  1. https://www.nutritionondemand.net/2021-thrifty-food-plan-widespread-appeal-and-potential-impact/
  2. https://www.fns.usda.gov/resource/thrifty-food-plan-2021-0

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