Retailers

Amazon Expands Reach of Online SNAP

Households in 48 states can now use benefits for grocery delivery via Amazon Grocery, Amazon Fresh
Amazon Fresh 15-cent bananas
Photograph courtesy of Amazon

Nearly every U.S. household buying groceries through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can now do so through Amazon, the Seattle-based retailer announced April 28.

Through Amazon’s participation in the U.S. Department of Agriculture SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, residents in 48 states— Montana and Louisiana were recently added to the program—and District of Columbia can buy groceries online for delivery using their EBT cards via Amazon Grocery or Amazon Fresh (available in select metropolitan regions). Amazon waived the Prime membership requirement for SNAP customers to access Amazon Fresh, further reducing barriers to online grocery shopping, it said.

With this addition, more than 99% of SNAP households have the ability to use their benefits online, Amazon said in a release.

See also, Bashas’ Now Accepting EBT SNAP for Delivery, Pickup Orders Through Instacart

During the pandemic, Amazon worked closely with the USDA to expand access to online grocery shopping to Americans who rely on SNAP benefits. The program launched in 2019 as a pilot in 10 states but has fast-tracked to a nearly national program to meet the evolving needs of customers. “Amazon volunteered to participate as a retailer in the USDA’s SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot ... because we believe in its goals and to ensure that all customers have the opportunity to order groceries online,” the company said in a statement.

"We are grateful the USDA has been so quick to approve states’ requests to make online SNAP purchases possible for their residents,” the Alliance to End Hunger, Washington, D.C., said in a release. “Online SNAP is an incredibly powerful tool that makes it easier for SNAP recipients to purchase nutritious food, particularly for those who have challenges getting to a brick-and-mortar store due to myriad barriers.”

Amazon said it remains “committed to making food accessible through online grocery shopping, offering all customers convenience, time savings, and low prices delivered straight to their door.”

The retailer’s Amazon Fresh grocery offering—which recently expanded in Southern California with the opening of stores in Mission Viejo and La Verne this month, with a Murrieta location opening in early May—is built on that value proposition. Amazon Fresh has been reported to offer items such as bananas for 15 cents, freshly baked bread for 89 cents, pizza slices for $1.99 and rotisserie chickens for $4.97.

The Food Research and Action Center in Washington, D.C., applauded the expansion of SNAP through Amazon. “The online SNAP purchasing pilot is one important piece of the puzzle for food access for low-income customers,” the group said. “It puts SNAP customers on an equal footing with other consumers and provides new options for them to get food into their hands.

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