The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, now provides a SNAP Online Purchasing Toolkit detailing how retailers can prepare to accept SNAP Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) payments online.
By streamlining this process, the Washington, D.C.-based trade organization aims to ensure that independent grocers are doing everything possible to make essentials accessible to the neediest members of their communities.
As the adoption of online grocery shopping skyrocketed during the pandemic, many indies were unable to accept SNAP payments for online purchases because of greater technical, financial and bureaucratic barriers than those faced by their larger competitors.
“Due to these obstacles, chain retailers often have an edge against smaller businesses,” noted Molly Pfaffenroth, NGA’s senior director of government relations. “While independent grocers have aggressively pursued expansion of their e-commerce platforms to meet demand, SNAP online shoppers continue to be underserved. And for many Americans, the independent community supermarket is the only lifeline in their struggle against food insecurity.”
The toolkit outlines the SNAP online purchasing requirements that retailers must meet to take part in the program, with tips and instructions for getting set up, including a breakdown of various scenarios retailers may encounter before the setup process; best practices; and a template letter of intent for retailers to email to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, along with background information on the initiative.
NGA developed the toolkit from information it gathered in interviews with retailers, e-commerce providers and third-party processors after the pilot program was expanded in 2020.
Kellogg Co. supported the development of the toolkit, which also includes information about the Battle Creek, Michigan-based company’s Better Days program to combat worldwide hunger.
The toolkit, which is free for NGA members, is available online.
The independent grocery sector is accountable for nearly 1% of the nation’s overall economy and generates $131 billion in sales; 944,000 jobs; $30 billion in wages; and $27 billion in taxes. NGA members encompass retail and wholesale grocers, state grocers associations, and manufacturers and service suppliers.