Broulim’s Fresh Foods, an independently owned grocery chain with stores in Idaho and Western Wyoming, has started accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payments online through a partnership with e-commerce company Rosie at its six Idaho locations.
The grocer will be the first independent store in Eastern Idaho to accept SNAP online payments, Rosie said Thursday.
Rosie launched its online SNAP program for independent retailers in February with the goal of helping its partners better serve their communities and “compete and win against national chains,” Jon Mareane, software rollouts lead for Rosie, said in a release at the time.
In Idaho, 7% of the population—one out of every 14 people—used SNAP during fiscal 2021, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
“It is crucial that we offer our customers options when it comes to their online shopping experience,” said Robert Broulim, president of Broulim’s Fresh Foods, in a statement. “The opportunity to offer SNAP Online removes financial barriers for families in our community, allowing all individuals to access healthy quality products.”
Rosie's platform currently has more than 55 independent grocery stores in eight states offering SNAP online payments. More than 200 stores are expected to offer the payment option in the coming months, Rosie said.
“For over 100 years, Broulim’s has helped feed communities and families across Eastern Idaho," Idaho State Representative Rod Furniss said in a statement. "This new online service by Broulim’s helps those most in need have greater access to fresh food."
Looking to expand the number of retailers accepting SNAP benefits for online shopping, The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service is seeking applications for a $5 million competitive grant, which will be announced this fall. Funded by the American Rescue Plan, the applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST on Sept. 6.
In the grocery space, larger retailers were the first to offer SNAP online purchasing, leaving smaller retailers without the technology or resources to enter the e-commerce space. Through this grant, the USDA said it “hopes the technical support provided will help these smaller, independent stores offer online purchasing for SNAP participants.” The USDA said it also hopes the expansion will give SNAP participants more choice, better serve rural communities and meet cultural food preferences.
Demand for online shopping among households that rely on SNAP is soaring. This past May, there was a big jump in SNAP households that shopped online, the USDA said, growing from 35,000 households in March 2020 to more than 3 million households.