Profiting from poverty: Amazon wants to cash in on food stamps

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
By Paul Martin
17 Jan, 2017

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is starting a pilot program allowing online grocers like Amazon to accept food stamps this summer. With 43 million Americans relying on food stamps, the winners are large corporations.

The program called the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) costs the American government $74 billion.

“Amazon is excited to participate in the USDA SNAP online purchasing pilot. We are committed to making food accessible through online grocery shopping, offering all customers the lowest prices possible,” the company said in a statement.

Besides Amazon, the list of companies that will accept food stamps includes Safeway, ShopRite, Hy-Vee, Hart’s Local Grocers, and Dash’s Market.

Recently, Amazon launched a $99-per-year Prime program, targeting middle-class consumers. The news about the company’s participation in food stamp program has raised questions on whether low-income consumers will be able to afford the fee. Amazon also offers Prime for $10.99 a month, but that works out at almost $132 per year, which is even more expensive.

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