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Almost 40 million people receive SNAP benefits in the United States. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides supplemental nutrition assistance benefits to low-income individuals and families.
SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps, are provided through the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.
A certain amount of qualified food products may be purchased with the card. The federal government spent more than $1 billion on SNAP and related food assistance programs last year, in addition to more than a quarter of a million retailers accepting EBT payments. Although online payments for a variety of products was a boom, according to Forbes, relatively few retailers accept EBT payments for grocery, delivery, and pick-up.

Forage, a startup that has just received a $22 million investment in its software that allows grocery stores to accept Snap payments, is trying to change the status quo.
Through its partnership with Shopify, Forage connects Shopify merchants with Snap payments. Retailers such as Flashfood and Farmstead participate in Forage’s services.
Despite Forage’s large goals, the presence of a major competitor may hamper them. Last month, Instacart announced that it had added stores that accept EBT for online grocery pickup in ten additional states to its list of retailers. Instacart and supermarket reports indicate that there are more than 8,000 retailers that accept Snap benefits for grocery delivery and pickup in every state and the District of Columbia.

Instacart has recently added Albertsons Companies and Sprouts Farmers market stores to its network. The statement said Instacart intends to continue developing the programme. Regardless of the payment service they use, customers can only buy eligible items using those snap savings. As a result, they can purchase milk, rice, and bread with their EBT cards.

Non-food items such as diapers and soap, however, cannot be purchased with SNAP benefits. Customers may add an alternative form of payment for those ineligible items. Instacart is providing free deliveries for the first three EBT orders.
There is a misconception that online grocery shopping for pickup or delivery is only for the rich, says Forage leadership team. However, many SNAP recipients are homebound and lack transportation or live in food deserts with no easy access to grocery stores.

Others want to avoid in person shopping due to concerns about Covid. Some have disabilities or may be caring for young children in Instacart statements said.

For these folks, being able to shop online from home and arrange to have their food delivered or picked up can give them back something that most of us hunger for more time.

What do you think of those new online service supporting the EBT program? Let us know down in the comments.

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