Amazon, Walmart to offer grocery delivery for food stamp recipients

Amazon, Walmart to offer grocery delivery for food stamp recipients

Amazon and Walmart will participate in a Department of Agriculture (USDA) pilot program to allow food stamp recipients to shop for groceries online, according to the agency.

The two-year New York pilot program will allow some of the state’s 2.7 million Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to order groceries online.

Amazon and grocery chain ShopRite plan to cover recipients in the New York City area while Walmart will cover parts of the upstate region, according to the USDA. The 2014 farm bill called for the department to test online purchasing for SNAP recipients.

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The program will expand throughout the state and will eventually cover Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington, according to the department.

“People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food – by ordering and paying for groceries online,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny PerdueGeorge (Sonny) Ervin PerdueLawmakers run into major speed bumps on spending bills Media and candidates should be ashamed that they don't talk about obesity Overnight Energy: Trump to revoke California's tailpipe waiver | Democrats propose bill to revoke Trump endangered species rollback | Trump officials finalize rule allowing fewer inspectors at pork plants MORE said in a statement last week. “As technology advances, it is important for SNAP to advance too, so we can ensure the same shopping options are available for both non-SNAP and SNAP recipients.”

"There is a lot of money that is pumped into the food store system via SNAP, so retailers are going to try and maximize that," Elizabeth Racine, professor of public health at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, told CNN.

Big box retailers hope to reclaim some of the market share they have lost in recent years to convenience stores and dollar stores, according to CNN, and hope the delivery option will put them ahead of the competition for geographical convenience.

According to USDA data, nearly 82 percent of all food stamp purchases —totaling $52 billion — were made at such retailers in 2017.

"What we're trying to get out of it is furthering our commitment to making food accessible," Kristina Herrmann, who oversees Amazon's participation in the USDA pilot, told the network.