E-grocer Farmstead has enlisted third-party processor Forage to enable electronic benefit transfer (EBT) payments from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants for online grocery purchases.
Burlingame, Calif.-based Farmstead said Tuesday that the partnership will make it the nation’s first online-only grocer to directly accept SNAP EBT transactions. Plans call for the Forage payment processing technology into Farmstead’s e-commerce operations — including its Grocery OS online grocery platform — and begin to accepting SNAP EBT payments by the second quarter of 2022.
“Addressing food insecurity has been a core part of Farmstead’s mission since day one. Our entire business is based on the premise that grocery delivery should be for the masses, and that it’s possible to have fresh, high-quality groceries delivered to your front door at the same prices you’d pay at the store, with no additional fees,” Pradeep Elankumaran, co-founder and CEO of Farmstead, said in a statement. “Accepting EBT at Farmstead, and integrating EBT into Grocery OS, marks a big milestone for us, and we’re proud to be working with Forage to make this a reality.”
Farmstead focuses on fast, free online grocery service, delivering within a one- to two-hour window and serving consumers across a large radius that the company said helps eliminate food deserts, while offering better prices than local supermarkets. Leveraging artificial intelligence technology, Farmstead said it has “reinvented the grocery buying experience” and “rewired how food moves across the country” to make locally sourced food more accessible and cut down on food waste. The e-grocer also licenses its Grocery OS technology stack to other retailers, providing a turnkey solution for getting a dark-store delivery operation up and running in two to three weeks, from securing commercial real estate space to inventory sourcing to delivery service.
The integration of Forage’s platform now makes easier for Grocery OS retailers to accept EBT/SNAP payments online. Los Angeles-based Forage works with merchants throughout the USDA application and technology integration process, which the company said has reduced time to launch SNAP EBT online transactions from 18 months to six months. Via Forage, merchants gain access to 42 million Americans and a $160 billion EBT spend while allowing low-income individuals and families to use their services.
“The online grocery market for EBT users increased by 2,700% between March and July 2020 and has remained high,” according to Justin Intel, co-founder and CEO at Forage. “Right now, those customers have few choices for grocery e-commerce because not enough grocers accept EBT for online orders, or include affordable home delivery. Those grocers who do accept EBT have access to over 40 million Americans who receive SNAP benefits. We’re excited to work with Farmstead to expand the number of grocers accepting EBT online.”