We at Sip & Savor believe that all Americans have the right to make their own food and beverages choices even in cases where families need the assistance of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to afford day-to-day grocery items. Discriminating against low-income households, simply because they are low-income, and imposing government mandates only on them is unfair.

Some politicians suggest we limit the choices that families on SNAP can make when shopping. But SNAP recipients are just as capable of making their own food and beverage choices as any family.  We are glad that U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack agrees.

At a food policy conference last week Vilsack pointed out that teaching people about balance is better than putting restrictions on what foods and beverages people can buy with their food stamps.

Vilsack says distinguishing between what people should or shouldn’t be allowed to buy is difficult because, “[recipients] may buy a little bit more soda, but they might buy less salty snacks than we do.  They might purchase a little more of this than we do…but we purchase a lot more sugary stuff than they do in other categories, so it’s a wash.”

With so many food and beverage options available, restricting purchases of certain items will not teach people to make the right choices for their families. It may just steer them towards options that have just as many if not more calories.

Vilsack continues that because it is, “extremely difficult to set up a system that distinguishes between various items, education to help people make the right choice is a better approach than restrictions.”

Obesity is a complex issue and cannot be solved by restricting – or even demonizing - individual products. That’s why America’s leading beverage companies are committed to educating people about balancing what they eat and drink with what they do.  By providing consumers with the options and information they need to make the choices that are right for them and their families, our industry is leading the way towards real and lasting solutions in the fight against obesity.

To learn more about why we shouldn’t allow the government to restrict our choices, visit YourCartYourChoice.com.