SAN FRANCISCO—Instacart announced that Electronic Benefits Transfer and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (EBT SNAP) payments can now be used to buy groceries online in 10 additional states through its app. The states include Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Albertsons Companies and Sprouts Farmers Market are among the first to accept EBT SNAP online in these states.
Through Instacart’s platform, Carrot Payments, EBT SNAP payments are now accepted in 49 states and Washington, D.C. The platform allows grocers to accept EBT SNAP through the Instacart App and on their own digital properties built with the Instacart platform e-commerce solutions Carrot Storefront and Carrot Storefront Pro. Through Carrot Payments, grocers can accept new payment types online, including EBT SNAP, Apple Pay, PayPal and others.
“At Instacart, our goal is to continue unlocking access to nutritious food for those who need it most. We’ve long advocated to expand online EBT SNAP acceptance, and we’re proud to bring this critical service to people in 10 additional states in partnership with grocers that people know, love and trust,” said Sarah Mastrorocco, vice president of access to food and nutrition, Instacart.
“Our partners offer a broad selection of fresh food and pantry staples, and with this expansion, we’re giving more families access to nourishment, paired with the convenience of same-day delivery and pickup. We look forward to continuing to expand this program and enabling more retailers to accept EBT SNAP payments online through the Instacart Platform,” Mastrorocco said.
Instacart also recently expanded EBT SNAP acceptance online with Meijer, Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Friendly Markets. With these moves, Instacart now accepts EBT SNAP payments at more than 60 retail banners spanning more than 8,000 stores.
“Research shows that a large percentage of EBT recipients face mobility challenges due to a disability, lack of transportation or caring for young children, which can prevent them from physically visiting a store. As a trusted community grocer committed to solving food insecurity, we want to make healthy foods available to those at risk by offering multiple private, secure, and convenient shopping options,” said Susan Morris, chief operating officer for Albertsons Companies. “This program allows shoppers to use their EBT cards to make online purchases for home delivery or free store pick-up, which is a critical part of our ongoing efforts to create a flexible and convenient shopping experience for all customers.”
Expanding SNAP Payment Opportunities
The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is offering a $5 million SNAP EBT Modernization Technical Assistance Center grant to an organization that can help expand the number of retailers that offer SNAP online shopping. The grant recipient will support retailers with the technology and systems needed for SNAP online shopping so SNAP participants can have more choices when it comes to where to use their benefits to buy groceries online.
According to the USDA, many retailers, especially smaller ones, face technical challenges or a lack of resources to deploy e-commerce sites or update existing sites, which would allow them to provide online services that meet SNAP requirements.
The USDA hopes the technical support provided through this grant will help these smaller, independent stores offer online purchasing for SNAP participants. The USDA also hopes to see an expansion of stores offering online shopping to better serve rural communities, give SNAP participants more choices and meet cultural food preferences.
In May 2022, just over three million SNAP households shopped online, an increase from March 2020, when about 35,000 SNAP households shopped online. The USDA is currently developing a pilot program to allow SNAP consumers to use their phones to purchase groceries at the checkout counter and will soon seek states to participate in this pilot.