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Regional chains roll out SNAP online purchases

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NEW YORK – Regional supermarket operators Meijer and Bashas’ separately announced they are now accepting online payments by shoppers enrolled in SNAP, the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program.

Meijer said this week it had added the capability at all of its Michigan locations, and would soon extend the service to SNAP shoppers in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and grocery

Meijer said it enabled online payment using EBT cards for both its pickup and home delivery service. Meijer Pickup charges a $4.95 fee that’s waived on orders over $35, while its home delivery service charges $7.95 per order.

Meijer is offering new pickup and Home Delivery customers $15 off their first three orders of $75 or more for a limited time.

“We believe all customers should have access to personalized, convenient, digital shopping services and understand the added benefit this new payment capability provides,” Derek Steele, Meijer’s vice president of customer strategy, said in a statement.

Bashas’ this week said more than 100 of its grocery stores in Arizona are offering Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) online payment for same-day delivery and curbside pickup orders placed through Instacart’s marketplace.

The program is available at stores operating under the retailer’s Bashas’, AJ’s Fine Foods, Eddie’s Country Store and Food City banners in the Grand Canyon State.

Bashas’ said it plans to introduce the capability to its Diné stores across Arizona and New Mexico.

To place pickup and delivery orders through Bashas’, SNAP users are required to create a profile through Instacart and enter their EBT SNAP card information. When ordering, they will be required to specify the amount of EBT SNAP benefits they would like to apply. They must also have a secondary form of payment on hand to cover taxes, tips and fees.

The announcements by Meijer and Bashas’ follows similar developments at other food retailers: Wegmans Super Markets, BJ’s Wholesale and Sam’s Club have also recently introduced e-commerce payment capabilities to shoppers enrolled in the SNAP program.

NYU study: SNAP shoppers buy less fresh food and sweets online

Earlier this month, a team of nutrition researchers released results from a 2021 study suggesting that families who are eligible for SNAP benefits are less likely to purchase both fresh produce as well as sweets when buying groceries online.

The New York University study tracked the results from a pilot program in which the USDA authorized use of SNAP benefits for purchasing groceries online to increase access to healthy foods among low-income populations.

The study found the shoppers were 70% less likely to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meat and seafood, when shopping online than in person. In interviews, the participants expressed reluctance to trust hired shoppers to select high-quality products.

The nearly half of shoppers who told researchers they were less likely to purchase sweets online said online shopping allowed them to avoid impulse purchases and freed them from pressure by their children to buy candy, cookies and cakes.

“This data will be important in advocating for improved retail practices and policies such as training of online hired shoppers, explicit return/refund rights, and waiving delivery fees for SNAP customers,” Angela Trude, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at NYU, said in a press release.



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