In Washington, D.C., the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced seven retail firms selected to take part in a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program pilot designed to enable participants to purchase their groceries online. To appropriately test online SNAP purchasing in different settings, the firms represent a variety of store types, including national online retailers as well as large grocery chains and smaller, regional networks.
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 fully addressed before being offered nationwide.
The two-year pilot will take place in seven states in both rural and urban areas and is slated to begin this summer. As the pilot proceeds and USDA confirms the system is operating as required, additional retailers may be added, eventually becoming a national option for SNAP participants.