By Ted Mason, NGA Foundation Technical Assistance Center
If anyone is still unsure about the value of SNAP incentives to food-insecure consumers and grocery retailers, look no further than Kentucky’s Manchester IGA, where they’re doubling down on their commitment to the program.
“Participation in the program is a point of differentiation from other area food retailers,” said Jed Weinberg, owner of the independent supermarket, referring to “Kentucky Double Dollars,” a partnership between Manchester IGA, Community Farm Alliance (CFA) and technology solution provider POS-Plus LLC, and coordinated by the National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center (NGAF TAC).
SNAP produce incentives are designed to encourage SNAP clients to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets. Kentucky Double Dollars takes it a step further: When SNAP clients purchase a minimum $10 of any SNAP eligible items at Manchester IGA using their SNAP EBT card, the point-of-sale system (POS) prints a barcoded coupon for $10 worth of free locally grown Kentucky produce to use on their next shopping trip.
NGAF TAC provided guidance for project planning, POS transaction design and onsite initial POS system testing, and is currently monitoring post-implementation progress for the initiative, which launched in June and runs through October.
It’s really a huge opportunity for independent supermarkets to demonstrate their commitment to the communities in which they operate. Far beyond being merely a way to drive sales, the SNAP fresh produce incentive program is a rare opportunity to demonstrate both nutritional and economic value for SNAP shoppers.
Feeding people is a noble profession; giving an extra boost to those who need it, while broadening access to more nutritious foods like fresh local produce, is truly profound.
“This partnership with Manchester IGA provides a great opportunity to further our program’s mission of alleviating food insecurity by supporting Kentucky Farmers, while reaching even more of the community,” said CFA Food Access Program Director Brittany Steffey.
And it’s a demonstration of the support that the NGA Foundation can provide to grocery retailers looking to enhance their community accessibility by overcoming the challenges that may exist in establishing nutrition incentive programs.
NGAF TAC worked with the Manchester IGA technology staff and POS-Plus to develop a transaction that automatically recognizes a qualifying SNAP transaction and prints a bar-coded coupon, determines product eligibility for a SNAP incentive issuance and redemption, works when a customer uses combinations of SNAP, WIC, credit/debit or cash, and does not require cashier intervention at issuance.
The Kentucky Double Dollars program has been running smoothly since launch. Weekly redemption growth for the initial four weeks averaged 43% during the first month.
To learn more, contact NGAF TAC at firstname.lastname@example.org.