Instacart and Food Lion are expanding Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) payments, the latest example of the one of the ongoing trends in food retail in 2021.
More specifically, the San Francisco-based Instacart has launched Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) SNAP payment integration in partnership with Food Lion. With this launch, EBT SNAP online payment will now be available at more than 350 Food Lion stores across North Carolina. People who rely on EBT SNAP will now be able to use their benefits for online grocery delivery and pickup at Food Lion.
This latest expansion follows the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s most recent approval allowing Instacart and Food Lion to launch the SNAP online partnership.
The launch comes days after the National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, expressed its approval of proposed federal legislation that would make it easier for indies to implement SNAP online purchasing.
Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, both D-Illinois, have reintroduced the Expanding SNAP Options Act, and the House Agriculture Committee has advanced its budget reconciliation bill. According to NGA, these pieces of legislation would provide significant funding for the SNAP online purchasing program in the form of technical assistance for small and midsize grocers.
Not only that, but Mercatus recently launched a product geared to the ongoing online expansion of SNAP benefits. The Toronto-based e-commerce services provider has launched its SNAP EBT Online tool. The new, integration-ready ordering and checkout capability allows U.S. grocers in eligible states to accept SNAP EBT and EBT cash payments as part of the Mercatus Integrated Commerce Platform’s end-to-end shopping experience.
More than 42 million Americans receive SNAP benefits, accounting for $55 billion in food retail sales. In 2020, SNAP households purchased more groceries online than non-SNAP shoppers. Currently, 47 states are participating in the USDA pilot program that expands acceptance of SNAP EBT payment from in-store to the online channel.
As for the Instacart launch, North Carolina is the first state to receive this EBT SNAP expansion, and Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia will follow in the coming weeks.
This expansion comes after Instacart’s initial EBT SNAP launch in 2020, where SNAP participants are able access online grocery delivery or pickup from ALDI via Instacart across 29 states and Washington D.C., including North Carolina.
Customers will be able to shop and select from Food Lion’s EBT SNAP eligible products. Once items are added to their cart, customers can select how much of their benefits they would like to allocate to the order.
To help subsidize costs for EBT SNAP beneficiaries, through March 16, Instacart will waive delivery and/or pickup fees on up to the first three EBT SNAP orders for each customer with a valid EBT card associated with their Instacart account.
Salisbury, North Carolina-based Food Lion has more than 1,000 stores in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states and employs more than 68,000 associates. Its parent company, Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize operating more than 2,000 stores across 23 states, is No. 11 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.