FreshDirect tells Bronx: We’ll deliver

Company also starts food stamps pilot program

Food delivery giant FreshDirect has announced it will expand service into the Bronx, beginning this week. In addition, the company says it has received government approval to launch a pilot program that for the first time would allow food stamp recipients to use their benefits to order food from online vendors.

Opponents of the deal to move FreshDirect from Queens to the Harlem River Yards in Port Morris have pointed out that while the grocer will bring 2,000 additional truck trips per day to the South Bronx, it did not serve its residents. Only the Northwest Bronx has been included in FreshDirect’s service area until now.

The critics say the added traffic would worsen existing air pollution problems without providing any benefits to residents. FreshDirect is set to receive $130 million in subsidies from the city to move.

In an effort to quiet criticism, in February the company signed a non-binding agreement with the office of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., promising, among other things, to begin delivering to the Bronx.

Diaz hailed the announcement that the company would begin to serve the entire borough.

“Today’s announcement shows that FreshDirect is ready to live up to those commitments ahead of schedule, years before making the Bronx their official home,” he said. “Ultimately, this move will offer residents increased healthy grocery options.”

FreshDirect officials added they will offer 50 percent discounts on certain popular items and discounts of $25 for new customers, to celebrate their service expansion to the borough. Details for implementation of the food stamps pilot project are still being worked out, but the company says they will be finalized in the coming weeks.

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