Food Lion Expands Pickup; NGA to Boost eCommerce SNAP Acceptance

Food Lion

For today’s major grocers to remain competitive, omnichannel accessibility is key.

In a move to drive sales with eCommerce customers, Ahold Delhaize-owned, North Carolina-based grocer Food Lion, which has 1,100 stores across 10 states, announced Monday (Sept. 26) the addition of Food Lion To Go pickup options to two dozen more stores in North Carolina and Kentucky. The addition boosts the total count of stores at which the service is available to more than 600, according to a press release.

“Our customers have embraced the convenience of Food Lion to Go so we’re excited to expand this easier experience to even more customers so they can spend more time on what matters most to them,” Food Lion Director of Digital and eCommerce Evan Harding said in a statement. “We want to give our neighbors the option to shop through the channel they prefer, in-store or online, while still ensuring they have access to the freshest groceries at affordable prices.”

Certainly, pickup options are a significant draw for many eGrocery customers. Research from PYMNTS’ study, “Satisfaction In The Age Of eCommerce: How Trust Helps Online Merchants Build Customer Loyalty,” created in collaboration with Riskified, which drew from a census-balanced survey of more than 2,100 U.S. adults. The study found that one in four consumers cites the ability to order curbside pickup as the single most important digital feature when shopping with online grocers, a greater share than any other feature.

Related news: Report: Merchants Risk Losing 40% of Online Retail, Grocery Customers Over Trust

NGA, USDA Boost Online SNAP EBT Acceptance

As grocers increasingly look to integrate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) payment capabilities into their online shops, boosting sales opportunities, the National Grocers Association (NGA) is going all in.

According to a White House news release Wednesday (Sept. 28), the group has committed, as part of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, to double the number of grocers accepting SNAP digitally over the next two years, with a specific focus on rural areas and on places without much access to food.

“As the supermarket industry continues to evolve and innovate, NGA and our members are committed to preserving the longstanding, strong public-private partnerships with federal and state nutrition programs, and enhancing capabilities to reach and serve all Americans,” NGA President and CEO Greg Ferrara said in a press release.

The news comes just eight days after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the expansion of SNAP online payment options to 150 new grocery chains, totaling “thousands” of stores.

“Online grocery shopping is a convenient, safe, secure, way to shop for food while saving SNAP participants time and money,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Stacy Dean said in a statement. “Expanding the diversity of our online shopping retailers is a critical component of our nutrition security goal to provide better access to healthy, safe, affordable foods.”

Aldi UK Attracts Inflation-Concerned Customers With Low Prices

The United Kingdom arm of international discount grocery chain Aldi, Britain’s fourth largest supermarket, which has nearly 1,000 stores, is finding that food inflation has more customers coming through its doors.

The chain told reporters Monday that, in the past 12 weeks, it has brought in 1.5 million additional customers, the Guardian reported, even as profits have taken a hit.

“Preserving our price discount and rewarding our people will always be more important to us than short-term profit,” Aldi CEO Giles Hurley said, according to Reuters. “Being privately owned means we can keep our promises even when times are tough.”

Indeed, inflation does have many grocery shoppers seeking less expensive alternatives. Research from PYMNTS’ study “Consumer Inflation Sentiment: Inflation Slowly Ebbs, but Consumer Outlook Remains Gloomy,” which draws from an August survey of 2,169 consumers, reveals that nearly half (48%) of consumers have shifted to less expensive grocers in an effort to manage inflation.

Plus, 62% of grocery shoppers say that they have cut down on nonessential spending, and 37% report that they have been purchasing lower-quality items. Meanwhile, only 14% of grocery shoppers say that their behavior has not been impacted by inflation.

See more: New Survey Shows Consumers Less Optimistic Than Fed on Taming Inflation