SEATTLE—Amazon and Walmart have expanded their SNAP pilot program with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to Washington state, Chain Store Age reports. The retailers now accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) payments for online orders of groceries in Seattle (Amazon) and throughout Washington (Walmart). Amazon will soon extend beyond Seattle to the rest of the state.
As reported in NACS Daily, last April, Amazon started the online grocery order program with the agency in New York City, while Walmart’s test included sections of upstate New York. Walmart also allows for EBT benefits card payments for in-store pickup of online orders for groceries across its U.S. stores. “Access to convenience, quality and fresh groceries shouldn’t be dictated by how you pay. We have a strong presence in the states in which the pilot is live, and we look forward to expanding,” said Walmart.
The pilot program allows users to pay for eligible food items with SNAP but not service or delivery options. The Amazon pilot lets SNAP recipients shop household and grocery products on AmazonFresh and Prime Pantry sans a membership fee and offers free shipping with a minimum order. “Access to Amazon’s grocery selection, as well as Amazon Fresh and Pantry, increases access for low-income Washington residents by adding a new SNAP redemption option and the convenience of home delivery,” said Kristina Herrmann, director of underserved populations at Amazon.
The USDA said the pilot will expand to Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey and Oregon, with the goal to eventually roll out nationally once the agency has worked out the kinks. The 2014 Farm Bill gave the agency permission to run a pilot program for online grocery delivery for SNAP recipients.