Food and Nutrition Service awards $5 million to the National Grocers Association to assist small, independent stores
Washington, D.C., Dec. 21, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service is awarding $5 million to help more retailers – especially smaller, independent stores – offer Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program online shopping. The grantee, the National Grocers Association Foundation, will provide guidance and technical expertise to walk retailers through the implementation process so more SNAP participants across the country can purchase food online.
“Small stores are the heartbeat of towns across America. They’re often individually owned and operated, create local employment opportunities, and provide essential resources for their community, but they also may not have the same resources that bigger stores have at their fingertips,” said Stacy Dean, Deputy Under Secretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. “Through this grant and our partnership with the National Grocers Association Foundation, the Food and Nutrition Service seeks to give all stores an opportunity to offer SNAP online – and give all SNAP participants the flexibility to buy groceries from home.”
Online shopping is a convenient, safe, secure way to shop for food. USDA is committed to expanding the availability of SNAP online shopping as part of our broader efforts to ensure everyone – regardless of their situation or their location – can have access to the food and nutrition they need to live healthy lives.
Since March 2020, 178 additional retailers have joined SNAP online, representing thousands of actual stores across the country. Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia are now set up to provide 99% of all SNAP participants with access to online purchasing. The Food and Nutrition Service expects that Alaska will implement online purchasing in the near future, making online purchasing available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Since November 2022 alone, 5 retailers representing 78 store locations were added to the program. The full list of retailers participating in SNAP online shopping can be found on the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot webpage.
In November 2022, nearly 4 million SNAP households shopped online, which is a substantial increase from March 2020, when about 35,000 SNAP households shopped online. However, USDA understands that some retailers, especially smaller ones, still face technical challenges to offering online shopping or lack the necessary resources, like a website that can process e-commerce transactions. The $5 million grant announced today, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, will help stores overcome those challenges to participate in SNAP online shopping. It will also provide technical assistance for future modernization efforts in SNAP, such as mobile payment options or chip card implementation.
Online shopping has become a vital resource for nutrition security and food access – particularly for those who live in rural and other difficult-to-reach areas and those who may be homebound or have limited transportation access. USDA is dedicated to expanding the number and diversity of retailers offering SNAP online shopping to connect more participants with its benefits, such as protecting people who are immunocompromised, elderly, and/or disabled from unnecessary exposure to COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. It can also be a valuable tool for reducing the stigma and discrimination that marginalized communities may, unfortunately, be more likely to face when shopping in person.
Visit the SNAP webpage for more information about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. On the SNAP Online Purchasing webpage, you can find retailers, by state, approved to accept SNAP payments online. Visit your local retailer’s website to find out whether grocery delivery is available for your location.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service works to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security through a suite of more than 15 nutrition assistance programs, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs, WIC and SNAP. Together, these programs serve one in four Americans over the course of a year, promoting consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being. FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. FNS’s report, “Leveraging the White House Conference to Promote and Elevate Nutrition Security: The Role of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service,” highlights ways the agency will support the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy, released in conjunction with the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September 2022. To learn more about FNS, visit www.fns.usda.gov and follow @USDANutrition.