The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, is expanding to allow more online grocery shopping options.
A newly introduced grant opened by the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month will provide innovative technology and support systems that will allow retailers to offer SNAP online.
Known as the SNAP EBT Modernization Technical Assistance Center grant funded by the American Rescue Plan, this is a competitive $5 million contribution. It will give one organization backing, allowing SNAP recipients to reach a larger variety of retailers while shopping for groceries online. The USDA will announce the selected organization will later this year.
The first retailers to offer SNAP online purchasing were typically larger chains. However, smaller grocery providers have faced challenges securing the technical support they need to provide this option for SNAP recipients. The USDA is hopeful that this grant will allow smaller chains to expand their capabilities and better serve communities that do not have immediate access to nearby stores.
“Online grocery shopping is a vital resource that improves access and convenience for all, including low-income families,” said Stacy Dean, USDA’s deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services.
Instacart has also stepped up to bridge the gap between online grocers and SNAP recipients by teaming up with Albertsons to add more delivery and pickup options for those receiving the food supplement. For the first three EBT/SNAP orders, the Instacart delivery and pickup fees will be waived.