Meijer accepts SNAP benefits for soon-to-expire food

The grocer will accept SNAP EBT in the Flashfood app, which lets shoppers purchase close-dated food at a discounted price.
A Meijer store.
  • Meijer will now accept SNAP EBT benefits on Flashfood purchases.
  • Flashfood is an app that lets shoppers purchase food items nearing their expiration date at a discount. 
  • Shoppers can load their EBT card into the Flashfood app to take advantage of the new benefit.

Meijer this week said it would now accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits for items offered through its Flashfood program. 

The grocer in a March 14 release said it would accept the benefits through the Flashfood app, which lets shoppers purchase surplus close-dated food at a “deep discount.” Meijer first partnered with Flashfood in 2019 as part of its sustainability goal of reducing food waste. Meijer says the platform is now available at all its stores and has been used by more than 500,000 consumers.

According to the grocer, shoppers at all of its supercenters and grocery stores — Meijer’s smaller-concept store launched earlier this year — can use SNAP EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) to pay for the soon-to-expire food items using the Flashfood app by adding their benefits card as a payment method. 

"As a company committed to enriching lives in the communities we serve, we're pleased to be the first retailer to expand our Flashfood program in this way," said Rick Keyes, Meijer president and CEO, in the release. "Feeding people has always been at the heart of what we do, and this is another way Meijer is working to provide extra value to those customers who need it most."

Meijer in the release said its participation in the Flashfood program has diverted around 5.6 million pounds of food from entering landfills. Customers can purchase food items ranging from meat to baked goods that are nearing their sell-by date. The products are discounted by as much as 50%, the release said. Flashfood has partnered with numerous grocery chains, including Giant, Hy-Vee and Giant Eagle.

The move comes as more grocers and other essential retailers move to target lower-income consumers in the face of ongoing economic hardships. As Retail Leader Pro recently reported, remaining pandemic-era benefits have expired, leaving recipients with even fewer dollars to spend across essential retail channels. 

“Despite the perceived economic headwinds, particularly for those in lower-income households, retailers are investing in solutions to make shopping more efficient for SNAP recipients,” said Retail Leader Pro Chief Analyst Elizabeth Lafontaine. “Retailers can and must provide value through other avenues, especially to those most vulnerable.” 

Wegmans in February started accepting SNAP EBT benefits for online grocery purchases, Retail Leader previously reported. Also last month, The Hub on the Hill, a New York state non-profit grocey hub, started accepting digital Double Up benefits, which double the number of SNAP EBT benefits awarded on fresh produce purchases

As U.S. consumers continue to feel like the nation is headed toward an economic recession, essential retailers who focus on bringing value to consumers will win, according to Lafontaine.

“Value has always been a staple across most retailers, but particularly those in dollar, mass and essential sectors of retail,” she said. “Whether focused on everyday low prices, coupons or discounts, lower prices and higher perceived value are an important tactic to get customers in the door.”