Instacart Tackles Grocery Delivery Divide

Gina Acosta
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The introduction of Instacart’s EBT SNAP program comes at a time when food insecurity in the United States has compounded as the nation continues to be affected by COVID-19.

Instacart is taking a major stand on the issue of food insecurity.

The company is for the first time making its grocery delivery service available to EBT SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients. In the coming weeks, recipients of the program can order their groceries online via Instacart from Aldi stores throughout Georgia. Instacart said that the program will expand to more than 570 Aldi stores across Illinois, California, Florida and Pennsylvania in the coming months.

The introduction of Instacart’s EBT SNAP program comes at a time when food insecurity in the United States has compounded as the nation continues to be affected by COVID-19. During the coronavirus recession, unemployment has skyrocketed and SNAP rosters have grown by more than 17%, with more than 6 million new enrollees.

According to Instacart, in Georgia specifically, food insecurity affects 12.5% of the population, disproportionately hitting communities of color. 

“At Instacart, our mission is to create a world where everyone has access to the food they love and more time to enjoy it together,” said Nilam Ganenthiran, president of San Francisco-based Instacart. “As the nation continues to grapple with the effects of COVID-19, we recognize Instacart has an opportunity to increase access to fresh, nutritious food and pantry staples by unlocking EBT SNAP payments for online grocery delivery and pickup services in communities across the country. It’s incredibly important to us to support the communities in which our own employees live and work, so we’re excited to start this program in Georgia, which is home to our Atlanta-based customer and shopper care team. We’re proud to partner with Aldi on this important initiative and are committed to being a long-term solution for EBT SNAP households and connecting everyone, no matter who they are or where they live, to the groceries and essential goods they need.”

As part of the new program, EBT SNAP participants in Georgia will be able to shop from Aldi via the Instacart online site and mobile app. Once an Instacart customer profile is created, customers can enter their EBT food card information as a form of payment in their profile. Customers will need a secondary form of payment for nonfood items such as taxes, tips and fees, per SNAP guidelines. Customers can then enter their ZIP code to determine if they're near a participating Aldi store, and begin shopping and selecting items from among Aldi’s EBT SNAP-eligible products. Once items are added to their cart, customers will be able to select how much of their benefits they'd like to allocate to the order.

Aldi delivery and pickup via Instacart will be available daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Once an order is placed, an Instacart personal shopper will pick and pack the order within the customer’s designated time frame – whether they choose to receive their order as quickly as possible or schedule the delivery or pickup days in advance. 

“Enabling customers to use their SNAP/EBT benefits for their grocery delivery and curbside pickup orders is an important extension of our in-store payment policy,” said Brent Laubaugh, co-president of Batavia, Illinois-based Aldi U.S. “While the option is only available in select markets at the moment, we’re eager to roll out this update broadly as quickly as possible.”

Aldi began offering delivery service via Instacart back in 2018, and Instacart currently delivers nationwide from more than 2,000 Aldi stores. In addition to Aldi, Instacart partners with more than 500 national, regional and local retailers, providing consumers across the United States and Canada, with same-day delivery of the groceries and goods they need from their preferred retailers. Today, Instacart delivers from nearly 40,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America, and is available to more than 85% of households in the United States

Aldi operates more than 2,000 stores across 36 states. The retailer is on track to become the third-largest grocery retailer by store count by the end of 2022. 

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