The coronavirus pandemic has changed the number of people who shop. Those who previously didn't think to stop by the grocery store to pick up some things now prefer to shop online for curbside pick-up and even home delivery, especially if they or someone in their home has an immune deficiency. The ability to store online is now more accessible than ever when Amazon accepts food stamps for their online orders, allowing more people to have a choice when it comes to shopping at the store.
According to Bloomberg, the number of people using food stamps to buy food online has "increased 50-fold" this year, in part because of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Business Insider, in September, 1.1 million U.S. households purchased food online using food stamps, and most of those sales are through Amazon and Walmart, which are the two most popular food stamp retailers in most states.
According to Bloomberg, in April, more than 22 million households participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and the opportunity to store online has brought tremendous benefits to those who would not risk going to the store.
In May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the expansion of the program to allow SNAP recipients in 36 states and the District of Columbia to store online. Kristina Herrmann, director of underserved populations in the Amazon, told Business Insider that the acceptance of food stamps allowed more customers to remain secure in their access to food. "Amazon continues to strive to make food available through online retailers, offering all customers, regardless of circumstances, time savings and low prices delivered directly to their doors.
The magazine also notes that by taking advantage of SNAP, recipients can not only have more opportunities where they store, but Amazon can now compete with other retailers like Walmart, which historically have received "a significant portion of the cost of grocery shopping. Herman told Bloomberg that the program "will significantly increase access to food for more customers and is awaiting implementation. He added that, according to the Amazon, Fresh is available "in most metropolitan areas.
Ruth Ilano, a woman with multiple sclerosis, said Bloomberg said the opportunity to use it for online shopping was a necessity. "Internet shipping used to be a nice touch," she said. "But now it's absolutely necessary for my life.