Online retailers undertake food stamps pilot

Date : 11 January 2017

Seven grocery ecommerce retailers are set to take part in a pilot program which will enable SNAP (food stamps) participants to purchase their groceries online.

Pilot launched with goal of building national program

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that seven retailers will participate in the two-year program which will launch this summer, including Amazon, Fresh Direct and Safeway. Running across seven states, in both rural and urban areas, the test will focus on both ordering and payment. As with the core program, SNAP participants will only be able to use their benefits to purchase eligible items online – not to pay for service or delivery charges. As the pilot proceeds, the USDA anticipates being able to add additional retailers, with the goal of building out a national option for participants once the pilot phase is complete.

Improving access to fresh foods in under-served areas

With more that 43m low-income individuals currently receiving SNAP benefits, half of which are children, this could provide a significant boost to the online grocery operations of the retailers participating in the pilot. However, participation could be limited by the existence of delivery fees and the ability to access online services. The pilot is expected to significantly improve access to healthy food choices in several urban and rural communities, building on many other recent initiatives including offering incentives to purchase fruits and vegetables and increasing the participation of farmers’ markets in the program.


Stewart Samuel, Program Director, IGD Canada
Based in Canada, Stewart heads up all of IGD's research and coverage on the North American market. He is also responsible for shaping IGD's research program across the region. Contact Stewart at [email protected] for further insight on the how the market is evolving and the trends to watch for.

Twitter: @Stewart_IGD