by Whitney Flach
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the seven retail firms selected to take part in a pilot designed to enable Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants to purchase their groceries online starting summer of 2017.
One of those seven, was Iowa based Hy-Vee Inc.
Hy-Vee is synonymous with quality, variety, value and superior customer service. Its slogan, “A Helpful Smile in Every Aisle,” expresses the foundation of the company’s operating philosophy.
With sales of $9.3 billion annually, Hy-Vee ranks among the top 25 supermarket chains, and the top 50 private companies in the United States. Its more than 240 stores are located in eight Midwestern states.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said, “Online purchasing is a potential lifeline for SNAP participants living in urban neighborhoods and rural communities where access to healthy food choices can be limited.”
While USDA has authorized SNAP online grocery ordering in a few locations, this pilot will test both online ordering and payment.
Online payment presents technical and security challenges that will need to be examined and fully addressed before it is offered nationwide.
As with the core program, SNAP participants will only be able to use their benefits to purchase eligible items online – not to pay for service or delivery charges.
As the pilot proceeds and USDA confirms the system is operating required, additional retailers will be added.
Eventually, the goal is for this to be a national option for SNAP participants, once the pilot phase is complete and USDA can incorporate lessons learned into program rules.
The firms selected represent a variety of store types, including national online retailers as well as large grocery chains and smaller.
Firms selected include:
Retailers – Pilot States
Amazon – Maryland, New Jersey, New York
FreshDirect – New York
Safeway – Maryland, Oregon, Washington,
ShopRite – Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania
Hy-Vee, Inc. – Iowa
Hart’s Local Grocers – New York (based in Rochester)
Dash’s Market – New York (based in Buffalo)
“We’re looking forward to being able to bring the benefits of the online market to low-income Americans participating in SNAP,” said Vilsack.