Instacart, one of the leading grocery delivery platforms in the U.S., is planning to expand its service to lower-income Americans. Starting next month, Instacart users in certain states will be able to use benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to pay for groceries. TechCrunch first reported the news and added that the program is possible because of Instacart’s partnership with grocery giant ALDI.
SNAP beneficiaries can only spend the funds on food, and the program helps sustain 40 million people every year. By expanding where beneficiaries can spend their SNAP debit cards, Instacart and ALDI are working to make food more accessible.
Instacart + ALDI SNAP Program
The coronavirus pandemic has increased poverty rates and limited food access. Millions of Americans are struggling with some level of food insecurity, and lower-income groups are often hit the hardest.
Instacart’s and ALDI’s SNAP program should help make food more accessible for Americans on welfare. Instacart users with a local ALDI can shop for groceries online and have them delivered by the end of the day. SNAP beneficiaries will hopefully have greater options and more ability to get fresh food.
“As the country continues to grapple with the effects of COVID-19, we believe Instacart has an opportunity to increase access to fresh, nutritious food and pantry staples by unlocking EBT SNAP payments for online grocery delivery and pickup services,” the company said in a press release. “We’re proud to partner with ALDI to help connect even more people to the groceries and goods they need and are committed to being a long-term solution for EBT SNAP households nationwide.”
Instacart itself is a simple to use, valuable platform. The app lets you choose from local grocery stores and fill your cart from the comfort of home. (In this case, you have to shop at an ALDI to use your SNAP debit card). You can check off your entire shopping list, place your order through the app, and set a two-hour delivery window. When your Instacart shopper is at the store, they can message you through the app to make sure everything goes smoothly.
The program will kick off in Georgia, where ALDI has more than 60 locations. In the coming weeks, it will include California, Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania locations.
The Bottom Line
This type of initiative is not new, but it is vital. A handful of major retailers, namely Walmart and Amazon, have been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a “SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot.” Under the pilot, select stores in 47 states have allowed SNAP recipients to order online and pay with their benefits. Instacart’s new program should not be seen as a competitor to the pilot, but rather a step forward in expanding food security for low-income Americans.
As online grocery shopping continues to grow, hopefully, more companies will follow the lead. Often when an industry leader like Instacart introduces a new feature, others in the field do the same. If grocery delivery services develop something similar to Instacart and Aldi’s plan, low-income families and food insecure communities would be better off.