The federal food stamp, or SNAP, program has recently decided to test a program that allows SNAP recipients to shop for groceries online at specific retail grocers. Amazon and Safeway are among the seven grocers chosen for the pilot program, though the USDA intends to eventually expand the program to the rest of the nation.
The SNAP program has been undergoing other similar expansions to further ensure security and promote healthy choices for recipients. The USDA has already improved participation by farmer’s markets and incentivized healthy food choices, and this change is another in the same vein, focused on securely getting healthy food to those who need it.
Though the pilot program is for online orders, it will still be limited by state. For example, Amazon will be accepting orders in Maryland, New York and New Jersey, while Safeway will be accepting orders from Washington and Oregon. The USDA reports that the same limitations on eligible purchase items will be enforced, and security is a key component of the online ordering system.
Amazon is also expanding how it delivers food. The AmazonFresh delivery service already provides grocery delivery to homes. New buildings in Seattle will open soon as the first drive-through grocery stores, though membership and pricing has yet to be announced.
Technology innovations are still arriving quickly and their impact on produce and the grocery business are relatively unknown. As companies continue to find new ways of conveniently getting groceries to people, technology will become a key aspect of the process.