As families across the country have been encouraged to stay home, Amazon has been working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to rapidly expand access to online grocery shopping to Americans who rely on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. What launched in 2019 as a pilot for expansion into only 10 states has quickly fast-tracked to a nearly national program in order to meet the evolving needs of customers, both during and after the COVID-19 crisis. Amazon now reaches beneficiaries in 36 states plus the District of Columbia, providing more than 90% of SNAP households1 with the ability to use their SNAP benefits online. Amazon volunteered to participate as a retailer in the USDA’s SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot in 2016 because we believe in its goals and to ensure that all customers have the opportunity to order groceries online.
SNAP recipients in Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming can now use their benefits to shop for groceries on Amazon and other participating retailers—and we are working to expand access to additional states in the coming months.
With online acceptance of SNAP, Amazon’s selection, competitive pricing, and home delivery can improve the grocery shopping experience for SNAP participants. Customers can shop for groceries across three Amazon services: Amazon Grocery (shelf-stable food and household items in varying sizes), Amazon Pantry (food items and household products in everyday package sizes), and Amazon Fresh (fresh produce, meat, and more; available in select metropolitan regions)—all with free shipping available. Amazon has waived the Prime membership requirement for SNAP customers to access Amazon Fresh, further reducing barriers to online grocery shopping.
For further insight into the impact of online SNAP purchasing, we spoke with three leading hunger relief organizations fighting to end food insecurity
- "SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, is our first line of defense against hunger by serving as a critical safety net for 1.6 million New Yorkers who struggle to make ends meet. By enabling SNAP EBT as a payment method online, low-income New Yorkers now have increased access to healthy food choices with the ability to purchase fresh produce and groceries for their families online." – Food Bank for New York City (FBNYC)
- "The online SNAP purchasing pilot is one important piece of the puzzle for food access for low-income customers. It puts SNAP customers on an equal footing with other consumers and provides new options for them to get food into their hands. SNAP is one of our country’s most vital social safety nets and must continue to play a critical role in reducing hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. Online ordering is important in regular times but especially so when all Americans have been encouraged to practice social distancing and protect individual and public health. The pilot program helps vulnerable households gain greater access to healthy food while staying home." – Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)
- "We are grateful the USDA has been so quick to approve states’ requests to make online SNAP purchases possible for their residents. Online SNAP is an incredibly powerful tool that makes it easier for SNAP recipients to purchase nutritious food, particularly for those who have challenges getting to a bricks-and-mortar store due to myriad barriers, including the unique challenges presented by the current COVID-19 public health crisis. We applaud USDA, the SNAP processors, and the many retailers who have responded to meet this demand in record time during unprecedented circumstances." – Alliance to End Hunger
Amazon is proud to continue to expand online SNAP acceptance to beneficiaries in more states and we remain committed to making food accessible through online grocery shopping, offering all customers convenience, time savings, and low prices delivered straight to their door. Get more information, the current list of participating states, or register for the program.