Company Updates

Hitting Hunger Head On: How Instacart is Taking Action to Support SNAP Families and Food Banks Across the Country

Dani Dudeck

Dani Dudeck

Feb 23, 2023

Next week, SNAP benefits will return to pre-pandemic levels in more than 30 states across the country. As a result, millions of families will see their monthly grocery budgets tighten by $95 or more, and many food banks — already facing supply shortages amid rising food prices and an ongoing donation drought — are bracing for a surge in demand for food assistance.

At Instacart, we believe technology can play an important role in combating nutrition insecurity — and we’re putting ours to work. Today, we’re launching a special, expanded Community Carts campaign and extending our discounted Instacart+ membership for SNAP beneficiaries to help more families across the country continue to put nutritious food on the table in this acute time of need.

First, to help food banks stock their shelves and ensure more people seeking food assistance can find what they need, we are expanding our Community Carts initiative and launching a public awareness campaign to help drive donations to local food banks in nearly every state where emergency SNAP funding is expiring. Originally launched during this past holiday season, Community Carts reimagine the traditional food drive, allowing anyone to easily donate the grocery items their local food banks have identified they need most, with items delivered directly to the food bank by Instacart shoppers.

Starting March 1, anyone will be able to donate food to almost 100 Feeding America member food banks in 31 states where additional SNAP benefits are slated to expire at the end of this month through Community Carts. That is in addition to over 20 food banks in 16 states where emergency allotments have already expired. In total, anyone will now be able to donate to more than 120 food banks across 47 states through Community Carts at instacart.com/donate. As part of this extension, we will continue to waive all service and delivery fees on every Community Carts donation. 

These crowdsourced Community Carts help food banks secure larger and more targeted donations that match their current needs as they see a significant increase in demand for their support. During the holiday season, Instacart customers generously donated tens of thousands of grocery items and essentials specifically requested by their local food banks through Community Carts.

In addition, we are extending our discounted Instacart+ membership offer for SNAP recipients. For a limited time, anyone who uses an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) SNAP card to purchase groceries on Instacart is eligible for a discounted Instacart+ membership at $4.99/month (50% off) for 12 months. With Instacart+, individuals can access free delivery and Pickup on orders over $35, 5% credit back on all Pickup orders, and reduced service fees on every order. 

As grocery budgets tighten for millions, research has shown that access to online grocery and delivery can help families with lower incomes save time, reduce transportation costs, and more effectively manage their budgets. SNAP recipients who grocery shop online also purchase more fruits and vegetables than in-store shoppers, without increasing their total grocery bill, according to the research.

The Community Carts program and Instacart+ SNAP discount are part of Instacart’s broader commitment to increasing nutrition security in communities most in need. Working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food & Nutrition Service, Instacart pioneered the EBT SNAP retailer onboarding process in 2020. Today, Instacart enables online SNAP payments with more than 70 retailers across more than 8,000 stores in 49 states and Washington D.C.

Last year, we launched Instacart Health, a sweeping initiative designed to deliver the ingredients for healthier living through Instacart’s products, partnerships, and policy advocacy. With Instacart Health, we’re turbocharging our efforts to help ensure every family — including SNAP households and any family on a tight budget — can access the nutritious food they need.

Dani Dudeck

Dani Dudeck

Dani Dudeck is the Chief Corporate Affairs Officer at Instacart.

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