Publix Super Markets, The Save Mart Companies and Price Chopper/Market 32 have partnered with Instacart to enable Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to directly pay for online grocery orders through electronic benefit transfer (EBT).
Instacart said Thursday that EBT payment capability for SNAP online purchases is now available chainwide at Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix, which operates 1,269 stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. And in California and Nevada, Save Mart has begun accepting online EBT SNAP transactions at all of its 203 Save Mart, Lucky California, Lucky and FoodMaxx stores.
Price Chopper/Market 32, with 130 stores overall, has implemented SNAP EBT payment integration across its New York locations and plans to roll out the functionality to its Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Vermont stores in the coming weeks.
At the three supermarket chains, customers receiving SNAP benefits can use the new EBT service for both Instacart delivery and pickup orders.
“We recognize the opportunity we have to help make fresh food and pantry staples more accessible to communities by breaking down barriers to same-day grocery delivery and pickup,” Instacart President Nilam Ganenthiran said in a statement. “We’re committed to continuing to expand EBT SNAP payments for Americans nationwide and are proud to partner with three new retailers — Publix, The Save Mart Companies and Price Chopper/Market 32 — on this important initiative.”
For Modesto, Calif.-based Save Mart, the new capability with Instacart makes it Northern California’s first supermarket retailer to offer EBT payment for SNAP online purchases.
“With an estimated 2.6 million households in California facing food insecurity and needing assistance, we are proud to be able to provide another way for our shoppers to meet their needs with the best value without compromising quality,” commented Hal Levitt, senior vice president of retail operations and supply chain at The Save Mart Companies. “For our guests on extremely limited budgets, we want to offer solutions to purchase groceries in-store and now online as well using their benefits and, in anticipation of the upcoming May 1 benefit card deposit, our guests can take advantage of this technology now, which is a welcome addition to our services.”
Added Chris Rogers, vice president of retail at San Francisco-based Instacart, “Expanding EBT SNAP payment integrations on Instacart is incredibly important to us. Food insecurity in California has compounded over the past year, and we recognize the responsibility we have to increase access to same-day grocery delivery and pickup. We’re proud to partner with The Save Mart Companies to bring even more options to Californians who rely on EBT SNAP.”
To use the new service, SNAP customers at Publix, Save Mart and Price Chopper/Market 32 create an Instacart customer profile via the Instacart website or mobile app and enter their EBT card information as a form of payment. A secondary form of payment also will be needed for nonfood items and other charges, such as taxes, tips and fees, as per federal SNAP guidelines. Next, customers enter their ZIP code to find and select a participating store and then start adding EBT-eligible products to their virtual cart. At checkout, shoppers choose pickup or delivery for fulfillment, and they can designate the amount of their SNAP benefits to apply to the order.
To help subsidize costs for SNAP customers, Instacart said it will waive delivery and pickup fees until June 16 for their first three EBT orders.
“Price Chopper/Market 32 is pleased to be amongst the first national grocery retailers equipped to accept EBT SNAP benefits as a form of payment online via Instacart for same-day grocery delivery and pickup,” stated Blaine Bringhurst, executive vice president of merchandising, marketing and store operations at Schenectady, N.Y.-based Price Chopper/Market 32. “We’ve advocated for this convenience since our partnership with Instacart began and are truly gratified that the success of its pilot program now allows us to extend the convenience to our customers throughout New York State.”
Instacart said the expansion with Publix, Save Mart and Price Chopper/Market 32 will bring SNAP EBT functionality to another 1,500 stores in 15 states, with the on-demand delivery giant offering the service at more than 4,000 stores overall in 38 states and the District of Columbia. The addition of more retailers also comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, whose Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) manages the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, said it will offer P-EBT benefits to all low-income children of all ages, helping provide adequate nutrition to more than 30 million children over the summer, Instacart noted.
Earlier this year, Instacart announced a SNAP EBT partnership with Ahold Delhaize USA’s Food Lion, launching the service at over 600 of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern chain’s stores. Instacart’s initial launch of SNAP EBT payment capability came with Aldi last fall, starting with 60 stores and then rolling out to the hard discount grocer’s more than 2,000 locations later in the year.
Under the SNAP online purchasing program, launched by the USDA's FNS in April 2019, 47 states and the District of Columbia now allow SNAP benefits recipients to shop and pay for groceries online from authorized retailers using their EBT cards. Currently, Alaska, Louisiana and Montana are the only states that haven’t enabled the program. Nationally authorized retailers include Walmart, Amazon and Aldi, while regional chain grocers and mass retailers Publix, Food Lion and BJ’s Wholesale Club and over a dozen independent grocers have been approved to offer the service in selected states.
“Online grocery shopping has been a convenience for many during the pandemic, and it’s great to see that opportunity now being expanded,” New York State Assemblywoman Angelo Santabarbara said in a statement. “This initiative from Instacart and Price Chopper/Market 32 gives our families, especially our most vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities, much-needed flexibility to get their grocery shopping done while still maintaining social distancing and putting their health first.”