Recently, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a two-year pilot focusing on expanding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. This program is the first to allow less financially stable Americans that receive food stamps to order and pay for groceries online.
Retailers participating in this trial period include Amazon, which is by far the largest online food distributor in the program. Food distributors involved include FreshDirect, Safeway, ShopRite, Hy-Vee, Hart’s Local Grocers, and Dash’s Market. All will serve food stamp recipients in seven states: Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, Iowa, and Oregon. The USDA says it plans to expand the online program nationwide, and eventually add more retailers to the roster.
Amazon Participating in the USDA’s Two-Year Program
The two-year program, set to launch this summer, will test online ordering and payment methods. With more than 43 million people receiving $66.6 billion in annual grocery benefits, Amazon and it now has access to an entirely new base of potential customers. “Amazon is excited to participate in the USDA SNAP online purchasing pilot,” the Seattle, Washington-based company said in an Amazon Press Release. “We are committed to making food accessible through online grocery shopping, offering all customers the lowest prices possible.”
Amazon helps poor Communities
The two-year program will help alleviate what are known as “food deserts,” or areas that have limited access to fresh foods and groceries. “Online purchasing is a potential lifeline for SNAP participants living in low-income neighborhoods and rural communities where access to healthy food choices can be limited,” USDA secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to being able to bring the benefits of the online market to low-income Americans participating in SNAP.”
Amazon is also taking steps to provide more flexibility for lower-income consumers, such as offering a monthly $10.99 payment plan for Prime.
Those who could not afford or did not have access to purchase healthy foods for their families once again have that option and save money. Just having access to healthier foods can change a family’s outlook on health and life. The delivery program also lets food stamp recipients use the benefit more discreetly than in a crowded store, where other shoppers can see how they’re paying for their groceries.
Alex Maglione & CJ Rosenbaum, Esq., AmazonSellersLawyer.com