Shoppers who use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, also known as food stamps, to pay for groceries will have a new delivery option come 2024, Uber Eats announced last week.
Following in the footsteps of Instacart, a competing grocery delivery service that recently became the first online marketplace of its kind to accept payment via public assistance programs, Uber Eats will offer SNAP recipients the ability to use their benefits to order groceries online through the app starting next year.
Instacart accepting SNAP: Instacart now accepting SNAP benefits for online shopping in all 50 states
“We know that online food delivery can have a meaningful impact in reducing barriers to fresh groceries, especially for the most vulnerable–including people living in food deserts, seniors, and those facing disabilities or transportation barriers,” the company said in a press release. “Helping to improve access to quality food is incredibly important to our work…”
When will Uber Eats begin accepting food stamps?
While Uber has yet to reveal a specific plan for rollout, Instacart originally announced the option in 2020 and launched it in select markets before rolling out to all 50 states last month. Online acceptance is now available across 10,000 stores from over 120 retail banners nationwide, reaching nearly 95% of U.S. households enrolled in SNAP.
How many people are enrolled in SNAP?
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 42 million people currently participate in SNAP, accounting for over 22 million American households as of Sept. 8, 2023. Despite this, poor nutrition remains one of the leading causes of illness in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Studies, including one from the University of Kentucky, found that SNAP participants benefit from access to online grocery shopping, including greater ability to plan ahead to save money and avoid the stigma that comes with using an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card in store.
The University of Kentucky study mentioned specifically shoppers with mobility issues, lack of access to transportation and new parents or families with young children, especially those without access to childcare, as examples of people who most benefit from the resource.
Likewise, the study found that people who purchase their groceries digitally buy more fruits and vegetables than those who shop in person.
Uber Eats plans to accept FSA Cards, waiver payments
The release also notes that Uber is working towards the goal of accepting FSA Cards, Flex Cards, and relevant waiver payments.