By Patrick Jones, NGA Foundation Technical Assistance Center
As demand to expand Online SNAP purchasing increased due to COVID-19, NGA has received numerous questions about the process from retailers. The NGA Foundation’s Technical Assistance (TA) Center specifically received questions on if and how nutrition incentives could be layered onto Online SNAP purchases. To better answer these questions, this summer the TA Center presented an Online SNAP webinar. The TA Center team fielded a number of questions from participants and helped give the audience a much better understanding of how to make Online SNAP a reality with practical steps for application, implementation, and marketing/customer outreach. Now in addition to the webinar, the TA Center is also making available a Online SNAP FAQ.
The webinar included a collaboration of speakers representing federal and state policy, retail experience, and e-commerce. Some highlights from the discussion included:
Shelly Pierce of FNS spoke about the Online SNAP pilot that launched in New York in April of 2019 and the rapid growth of the program across the states. Pierce also mentioned the requirements necessary for program implementation at the retailer level available on the FNS Website.
Eileen Emory from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare provided her unique experience at the state level implementing SNAP Online, the communication and outreach to SNAP participants, and the positive experience thus far.
Jimmy Wright, owner of Wright’s Market and a participant in the Online SNAP pilot project, provided his experience at the store level and the process of becoming involved in Online SNAP for both his business and the customers he is committed to serving.
Colleen Griffin-Underhill of Freshop provided a live demonstration of an Online SNAP transaction at Wright’s Market and spoke to how nutrition incentives could be added on to the transaction. As a Third Party Provider for E-Commerce, Freshop helped bring Online SNAP to Wright’s Market.
FAQ’s from the webinar are available here and a recording is available here.
If any further questions arise about participation in the Online SNAP program, please reach out to NGA’s Director of Government Relations, Molly Pfaffenroth at firstname.lastname@example.org. For any questions on nutrition incentives or the Technical Assistance Center team, please email email@example.com.
* The NGA TA Center addresses the challenges grocers and supermarket operators face in establishing nutrition incentive programs and is a proud partner of the Nutrition Incentive Hub. The Hub, funded through a cooperative agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, is a new national resource that provides training, technical assistance, reporting, and evaluation for those working to launch or expand SNAP incentives or produce prescription programs. The Hub is led by Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition in partnership with Fair Food Network along with a coalition of evaluators, researchers, practitioners, and grocery and farmers market experts from across the country dedicated to strengthening and uniting the best thinking in the field to increase access to affordable, healthy food to those who need it most.