Monster Beverage looks for a buzz from food stamps
It's marketing itself as a beverage instead of a supplement to qualify for sale to millions of consumers on the government program.
The food stamp economy is no small slice of the U.S. population, and Monster Beverage (MNST) is taking notice.
The company, which revamped its label last month so the energy drinks are categorized as beverages instead of dietary supplements, is now explaining one of its motivations: to qualify for food stamp purchases.
"Monster Energy drinks could equally satisfy the regulatory requirements" for food stamps, spokesman Michael Sitrick told The New York Times.
Sadly, that's a growing market. About 47.6 million Americans received food stamp benefits, also called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, according to March data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That means the program added nearly 3 million Americans to its rolls in only two years.
The idea of buying an energy drink with food stamps might seem, well, odd, given that the program is designed to "buy foods for the household to eat, such as breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, meats, fish and poultry, dairy products." Still, while cigarettes and alcohol are excluded from food stamp purchases, the program does cover a wide variety of products with little nutritional value.
That includes Mountain Dew, Oreos, Kit-Kat bars and Cheez-It crackers, according to Live Science. Still, food stamps can't be used to buy drinks that qualify as supplements, the Food and Drug Administration notes.
While eating junk food certainly isn't healthful, energy drinks have come under fire for some serious risks. Lawmakers have asked the FDA to examine the safety of the products, while a study issued earlier this year found that the number of emergency room visits tied to energy drinks doubled from 2007 to 2011.
Monster claimed the study was flawed, noting that it didn't support "any conclusion that energy drinks are unsafe for consumers."
The label change on Monster's beverages means the company is listing "nutrition facts" instead of "supplemental facts," and it's including caffeine content, which The Times says reaches between 140 milligrams and 160 milligrams, or about half of a Starbucks (SBUX) 16-ounce cup of coffee.
Questions about safety have taken a toll on the energy drink market. A recent regulatory filing from Monster cited "softness" in demand because of the negative publicity.
By reaching out to the legions of Americans receiving food stamps, Monster appears to be betting it can energize its sales with some help from the government's $81 billion in food stamp spending.
I work in the meat department of a grocery store. I have seen way too many times these lazy, useless pieces of crap come in and buy the top cuts of meat offered. While the hard working people and the ONES WHO REALLY NEED THE ASSISTANCE buy the bare minimum just to make ends meet. You can tell who these worthless human beings are by a few factors.
1. 3-4 kids and the woman has more on the way.
2. Wearing pajamas while talking inconsiderately on their i-Phones while yoou are trying to wait on them.
3. Smelling like they just climbed out of the bottom of either a beer vat and/or a bong.
4. Pants hanging down to the back of their knees. (White and black boys both fall in this catagory so don't give me any racists junk.)
5. Usually cursing up a strom, showing how truly uneducated they are. And they can not even properly pronounce whatever they wish to purchase. (Could also be from lack of being able to read the sign or package, which also shows their uneducated ways.)
6. High dollar products being bought for themselves and a month's supply of Ramen noodles for their kids to get by on.
I harbor no hard feeling for the people who truly need the help. Growing up my family had to survive off of them. But it was a shameful feeling we had one and all to be on them. These scumbags get their rocks off being a complete waste of life and a blight on this society.
Ex. 1,Lobster was bought on one card and money taken out, yes cash back, was used for buying the beer by the same person.
Ex. 2, Poor 18 year old girl buys 200 cans of soda from Sam's Club on her card. She sells the cans at a half the price to neighbor, and is paid in cash a fraction of what the cans cost (Not her money, but it is cash in her pocket). Then poor little 18 year old files a theft report to get a new card, because she needs it for her poor litlle children. This case was proven fraud, yet nothing happened to her.
Now think of all the others who don't get caught, and multiply it. There's your tax money.
Food stamps are abused terrible, if you wnat to know who is on the program just look around when you are shopping. Te working person or person paying out of tehr pocket looks at price and compares value. It seems to me a lot of food stamp shoppers pay no attention to weekly specials, they can simply grab what they want and fill a cart with high priced junk. I work, so therefore I have buy store label or private label to assist me helping pay my taxes and kids college tuition.
It is a sad state of affairs with some of the entitlement group they have no regard for the person paying the freight! When will we wake up go back and issue surplus food like they didi in the 1960's.. Oh I forgot that would hurt the supermarkets and stores in certain neighborhoods were junk food regardless of price is king.
One day I was on my way to a birthday party and had to stop at the store to pick up a card. Standing in front of me in line were two young girls around 18 or 19 and between them they had 4 children. The youngest was an infant in a stroller. The other three were maybe 3,4 & 5. The two girls and the three children all had a soda in their hands as well as chips and a couple of candy bars. When they got up to the cashier to pay they pulled out their foodstamp card to pay for it. It was around $23. All I could think of is that $23 could have paid for several meals for those children and they just wasted it on junk. Keep paying those taxes people.
Monster doesn't need to make a change, but the USDA sure does. I hear the tired old argument all the time that poor people are overweight because they can only afford cheap food. Here's what I see every single weekend when I go to the grocery store: Carts loaded with with name-brand chips, frozen pizzas, cake, soda, and other empty-calorie items. I can spot an EBT cart a mile away. They get up to the register, and yep, out comes that food stamp card. They're really easy to recognize in my state. They all look exactly the same. Meanwhile I stand in line behind them with my meager little collection of store-brand food because I can't afford all that sort of junk. I wouldn't buy it even if I COULD afford it, but that's beside the point.
Too much of the food stamp money is going to purchase empty calories that do nothing whatsoever to contribute to the health and nutrition of the recipient. They are getting very little value for their dollars, but by golly, it tastes good, and I guess that's all some people worry about.
Food stamps need to be set up like WIC, where you can only purchase very specific items with it. Stuff like vegetables, beans, some meats, dairy products, healthy cereals, flour, cooking oil, etc. NO chips. NO cakes. NO Monster-type beverages. They do NOTHING to help keep you going. All they do is make you fat (or in the case of the energy drinks, really jittery).
I have no problem with people who are legitimately and TEMPORARILY down on their luck receiving food stamps. I'm all for it. But generation after generation? NO. That has GOT to stop. We're not doing the recipients a favor, and we're not doing our country a favor. We've bred several generations of people who contribute NOTHING to society, and they've gone on to produce several more generations of children who feel entitled to exactly the same "benefits". How many more people can we add to those numbers before the entire nation collapses under the weight?
Food Stamps serve a purpose, & are necessary. The rules ought to be that Food Stamps can only be used for food staples & necessities. Hamburger, not steak. No fancy foods. Bulk & family size packages. Generic or cheapest packages only. It irritates the hell out of me to see ladies whose asses are about 3 axe handles wide in the grocery line buying pop, potato chips, candy bars, cookies & other junk food with food stamps.
Anyone caught cheating should be permanently booted off the program.
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