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Brandt EJ, Silvestri DM, Mande JR, Holland ML, Ross JS. Availability of Grocery Delivery to Food Deserts in States Participating in the Online Purchase Pilot. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(12):e1916444. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.16444
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides federally funded nutritional support to qualifying low-income persons.1 To increase SNAP beneficiaries’ access to grocers, the 2014 Farm Bill included an Online Purchase Pilot (OPP) that allows beneficiaries in 8 states to use SNAP to purchase groceries online. The 2018 Farm Bill extends this benefit nationwide after OPP completion. Delivery of online-purchased groceries offers an opportunity to expand food access where it is otherwise limited. However, to our knowledge, there are no studies assessing the availability of grocery delivery in USDA-designated food deserts, defined as low-income communities with limited vehicular access and grocer availability. To inform on the potential effect of delivery in these areas, we quantified the proportion of both rural and urban USDA-designated food deserts currently serviceable by online grocery purchase and delivery in the 8 OPP states.
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