In this April 24, 2014 file photo, a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables are displayed for sale at a market in Washington. A 12-year study released Monday, Sept. 1, 2014, shows a steady improvement in American's eating habits, but food choices remain less than ideal. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
(Matt Rourke/AP)
(Matt Rourke/AP)

Jonathan Ellis, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON (USA Today)—The U.S. Department of Agriculture is expected to release studies this spring that will provide more information about the types of foods purchased by people on food stamps and whether that information can be tracked on a national level.

Pressure for that type of detailed information has been building across the political spectrum as the program ballooned in cost during the Great Recession. The concern among public health advocates and fiscal conservatives is that a substantial amount of taxpayer money is spent on soda and junk food.

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cost taxpayers $73.7 billion last year, down from nearly $80 billion the year before, according to the USDA, which administers the program. The average participation in SNAP – 46.5 million people last year – has more than doubled in the last 10 years.

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