SNAP Modernizes, Allows Purchase of Food Online From Two More Retailers

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working to update the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by expanding online food shopping options for participants.

For the first time, online-only retailers without a brick-and-mortar presence are included in the list of authorized retailers from which SNAP recipients can shop online. This includes big stores like Walmart, Target, Costco, and Walgreens, though availability varies by state.

Before approving others, FNS is testing two online-only stores, Thrive and DashMart. These stores’ business models must be compatible with SNAP eligibility standards.

According to FNS, millions of SNAP beneficiaries in the 50 states and DC use their benefits to purchase food online every month.

With its 2014 debut, Thrive has provided members with a membership-based food discovery and ordering app that delivers a wide selection of nutritious, high-quality goods straight to their doorstep. Annual membership is $60; however, SNAP members can join at no cost. Fresh produce and other home necessities are available at DashMart, an online grocery shop operated by Doordash.

In recent years, there has been a general trend in the American market toward more frequent online grocery shopping, which mirrors that trend. In 2022, PYMNTS found that 15.8% of Americans used weekly home delivery services for grocery shopping.

With the rapid expansion of the COVID-19 epidemic in early 2020, the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, first launched in 2019, was swiftly extended to accommodate the astronomical increase in SNAP online food purchases.

According to FNS, SNAP members will have additional alternatives with the inclusion of these two merchants, especially those who live in areas with limited access to food, allowing them the same convenience and variety of options enjoyed by all Americans when it comes to grocery shopping.

More than 42 million Americans rely on SNAP to help them put food on the table every month. Many people live where it’s hard to get good food or where food is scarce.