With the pandemic providing the impetus, the USDA made online shopping available to SNAP recipients in 49 states and the District of Columbia, with Alaska the only exception. Now researchers have found that online SNAP shoppers are far less likely to buy fresh produce, meat or seafood than if they went to supermarkets, but they also cut back on candy, cookies and cake, according to a new study.
State after state joined a USDA pilot program this spring that allows SNAP participants to buy groceries online as a way to reduce the chance of contracting Covid-19. But now, said a report released Thursday, SNAP shoppers face "an often manipulative and nontransparent grocery marketplace" when they shop via the internet. (No paywall)
SNAP recipients in West Virginia, North Carolina and the District of Columbia soon will be able to purchase groceries online as part of a pilot initiated a year ago to test the idea, said the USDA. With the approvals, 39 percent of SNAP recipients are in a state that is part of the pilot. Interest in the pilot has risen with concerns about limiting exposure to the coronavirus.(No paywall)
The newest states added to the Department of Agriculture’s SNAP online purchasing pilot program are planning to roll out the service by the end of April or mid-May, according to internal documents and news reports. Meanwhile, more states are eager to join the program as the coronavirus pandemic highlights disparities in food access. (No paywall)