USDA Updates Thrifty Food Plan to Reflect Current Food Costs

27 September 2021

Change Provides Higher Benefit for 3SquaresVT Households

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the re-evaluation of its Thrifty Food Plan, which estimates the cost of buying groceries for a family of four and is used to calculate benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. 

The re-evaluation concluded that food costs today are 21% higher than the amounts in the current Thrifty Food Plan. The plan was adjusted accordingly.

As a result, the average 3SquaresVT benefit will increase as follows starting October 1, 2021, when compared to October 1, 2020 benefits:

  • by $36.24 per person, per month, or
  • by $1.19 per person, per day. 

This represents the single largest permanent increase in benefits in the program’s history.  It comes at an important time, as a temporary 15% increase in the Thrifty Food Plan, related to the COVID pandemic, will end on September 30, 2021.

This will help put healthy, nutritious foods within reach for Vermont families being helped by 3SquaresVT. Good nutrition is vital in helping:

  • People stay healthy and active,
  • Prevent disease,
  • Reduce health care costs, and
  • Support learning in the classroom.

The extra money that families spend in their local stores and farmer’s markets also helps our economy and farmers. To learn more, visit