Breaking the Stereotype on SNAP Recipients

Tuyen, Deborah, Hayley

Conservative media and lawmakers often perpetuate harmful stereotypes about SNAP recipients, often insinuating they are irresponsible and “undeserving” of the benefits they receive. For example, Donney Furgerson, Republican Senior Stockman’s Senior Communications and Policy Advisor criticized SNAP as a “liberal stunt” of the economic growth while supporting the cut-down of the SNAP benefits. Our goal is to take a closer look at one such stereotype, that SNAP recipients prioritize “junk food” over more nutritious options and show the story is much more nuanced and complicated.

In fact, data from the Food Insecurity Among Somerville SNAP Contingent survey show that people with SNAP want to eat more fruits and vegetables, but that the main barrier is money and access.

Our chart is intended for an audience who is not food insecure – we aim to build understanding and empathy by telling this story. Our visual is a series of pie charts in the shape of various foods. The sentences that accompany the charts describe the data and the reality of SNAP recipients. For example, nearly 50% of the participants in the Somerville survey on SNAP recipients said they rarely or never bought junk food; at the same time, 39.3% of participants said nutrition would be a higher priority “if money were not such a pressing issue.” Finally, there is clear demand for fruits and vegetables – a separate survey, conducted by the Somerville Institute for Community Health showed that 59% of respondents wanted to see more farmer’s markets in their neighborhood, and 30% a “green grocer/produce seller.”

Our first take-on was Google Chart:


However, we felt constrained by the options in Google Chart.     So, we went back to the traditional pens and crayons.


The two different methods helped us organize our presentation ideas.  We decided to create the final version of our data charts by using Picktochart. We also added new data from a national survey on how often Americans buy “junk food” in order to provide some context to compare our Somerville data.

Junk Food Stereotype


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *