Arlington, VA – Today, FMI – The Food Industry Association joined several other associations representing retailers of all sizes and financial institutions in sending a letter to U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen calling for the agency to leverage its considerable resources to raise awareness about the need for increased coin circulation.

The country continues to face ongoing coin circulation challenges compounded by the shift in consumer spending habits due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Grocery retailers and cash-reliant grocery customers are still struggling to access enough coin to support everyday cash transactions. Much of the $48.5 billion in coin already in circulation is sitting dormant inside America’s 128 million households.

The letter asks Treasury Secretary Yellen to help with the public awareness efforts to “get coin moving,” the coin circulation campaign created by the U.S. Coin Task Force, of which FMI is a member. Specifically, the letter emphasizes that the U.S. Mint does not have the capacity to produce enough new coin to make up for the circulation slowdown and noted the harm that a continued lack of coin would have on retail customers that do not have the ability to pay for goods and services through credit and debit cards.

“For the food industry, this coin supply disruption affects a grocer’s ability to complete cash transactions because they lack sufficient coin to make change at check out. This significantly limits the ability of millions of cash-reliant and cash-preferring grocery customers to buy necessary goods and services,” said Christine Pollack, vice president, government relations, FMI, and a U.S. Coin Task Force member.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, FMI has sought to raise awareness about the importance of coins to cash-based businesses and Americans who rely on legal tender to purchase the food and household items they need to keep their families healthy and fed. FMI joined the U.S. Coin Task Force in July 2020 alongside the U.S. Mint, the Federal Reserve, armored carriers, bankers, coin aggregators and other retailers to identify and promote strategies to resolve the coin supply chain issues.