Questions and Answers

Can you Buy Soda with Food Stamps?

Food stamps benefits are intended to be used to purchase eligible food items to be consumed at home. One of the questions we often get is this – Can you Buy Soda with Food Stamps? In this post, we will answer the question, plus whether you can purchase energy drinks and coffee with SNAP EBT.

Can you Buy Soda with Food Stamps?

The answer is Yes. You can use food stamps benefits to purchase soda and other soft drinks. Here’s why.

According to rules established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), households can use SNAP benefits to buy “foods for the household to eat,”.

This includes foods such as breads and cereals; fruits and vegetables; meats, fish, and poultry; and other foods such as snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages.

Therefore, as stated above, non-alcoholic beverages qualify, including Soda.

In fact, according to a 2016 report from the USDA, sweetened beverages, including soda, are among the most commonly purchased items by recipients of Food Stamps or SNAP.

However, not all beverages qualify under food stamps rules.

When it comes to drinks and beverages, here’s the USDA rule you need to be aware of:

Drinks that include “nutrition facts” labels qualify as food items and are eligible for purchase with EBT.

Since Sodas have “nutrition facts” labels, they qualify, as shown below using Coca-Cola as an example.

However, “If an item has a Supplement Facts label, it is considered a supplement and is not eligible for SNAP purchase.”

Items you cannot buy with Food Stamps

Furthermore, here’s a list of what you cannot buy with SNAP benefits, according to the USDA website:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, or tobacco
  • Vitamins, medicines, and supplements.
  • Live animals (except shellfish, fish removed from water, and animals slaughtered prior to pick-up from the store).
  • Foods that are hot at the point of sale
  • Any nonfood items such as:
    – Pet foods
    – Cleaning supplies, paper products, and other household supplies.
    – Hygiene items, cosmetics

Can you purchase Energy Drinks with SNAP?

Yes. You can also use your food stamp card to buy some energy drinks.

However, not all energy drinks are eligible under USDA rules regarding what can and cannot be purchased with SNAP.

As mentioned above, if the energy drink has a “Nutrition Facts” label, it is considered a food item by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is eligible for purchase with SNAP benefits.

Is Coffee Eligble under SNAP EBT?

Yes, you can buy packaged coffee, including instant coffee and K cups for Keurig. You can also buy creamer.

However, you cannot buy hot coffee because you cannot use an EBT card to buy hot liquids.

Does EBT cover Celsius drinks?

No, you cannot use your food stamps benefits to purchase Celsius energy drinks.

That is because the can comes with a Supplement Facts label, and is therefore not eligible to be purchased with SNAP EBT (see label on the can below).

Summary – Can you Buy Soda with Food Stamps?

We hope this post on the question – “Can you Buy Soda with Food Stamps?” was helpful.

Questions?

Please let us know in the comments section below if you have further questions about Food Stamps or EBT Card.

Also, be sure to check out our other articles about SNAP and EBT, including:

Kwame Kuadey

Kwame Kuadey writes about personal finance and the social safety net. His career started in banking but he caught the entrepreneurial bug and has spent the last decade building successful businesses, including an Inc. 500 Company. Kwame believes everyone has the power to improve their quality of life by seeking knowledge and taking action. In 2012, Kwame founded Empower Media to help low-income households improve their financial situation. His expertise is in topics relevant to low-income households, including government benefits and assistance, banking products, access to credit, plus tools & resources to help reduce income volatility and build wealth. Kwame has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, Washington Post, ABC, and NPR.

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