WH wants to cut back on food stamps, deliver Blue Apron-type meal kits

The Trump administration could begin delivering food to many low income families à la Blue Apron, as part of a proposal that would drastically change the federal food stamp program. 

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney on Monday unveiled details of the program, called America's Harvest Box, saying it's one of the most "innovative" proposals in the president's budget.

 "You actually receive the food instead of receive the cash," Mulvaney said. 

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is currently designed to allow recipients to choose what they spend their benefits on when they shop at an approved retailer.

But under the America's Harvest Box proposal, all SNAP participating households receiving $90 a month or more in benefits will receive a delivered food kit, in lieu of a portion of their benefits.

The remainder would still be provided through the current Electronic Benefit Transfer card.

The USDA says the delivered food would be nutritious and 100 percent U.S. grown and produced. 

The deliveries would include staple, shelf-stable foods such as shelf-stable milk, cereals, peanut butter, beans, canned meat, poultry or fish, and canned fruits and vegetables.

The amount of food received per household would be scaled to the overall size of the household's SNAP allotment and would represent roughly half their benefits, according to the USDA.

The White House says the proposal would offer people more nutritious options while saving the government money.

"It lowers the cost to us because we can buy prices at wholesale," Mulvaney said. "It also makes sure they're getting nutritious food. So we're pretty excited about that."

The USDA estimated the savings would amount to $129 billion over a ten year period.

The president's budget proposal still needs to be approved by Congress and will likely face modifications before that time.