Pennsylvania Store Visits: A Study in GusNIP Incentive Transactions

October 4, 2022
Pat Jones, Project Coordinator, and Ted Mason, Project Consultant

One of the most valuable lessons the National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center (NGAF TA Center) team has learned since beginning our work in GusNIP nutrition incentives is the importance of conducting in-person visits to learn how projects function successfully in a variety of retail food stores.

A few weeks ago, our team had the opportunity to trek across Pennsylvania to visit numerous stores, speak face to face with the staff, and see how incentive transactions functioned at the POS terminal, for both nutrition incentive (NI) and produce prescription transactions (PPR).

Our journey was inspired by The Food Trust, a Pennsylvania-based GusNIP grantee, whose work covers the entire Keystone State along with some retail locations in New Jersey. We began in Pittsburgh, passed through Duncannon and ended in Philadelphia, and for as many stores we visited, we had the opportunity to experience an incredible variety of methodologies successfully providing these beneficial programs to store customers.

The Charley Family Shop ‘n Save Stores, Greensburg, Pa.:

Technology provider: AppCard

Incentives offered: NI, PPR

  • For the NI program, customers use their loyalty card or enter their phone number to earn points on NI-eligible items purchased using their SNAP EBT card.
  • Redemption is simply the customer using their loyalty card or entering their phone number to trigger a redemption of points on qualifying NI products.
  • This PPR program functions relatively simply, with produce prescription participants visiting their local health clinics and being given produce prescription vouchers with bar codes that can be scanned at the POS and automatically applied to eligible fresh fruits and vegetables.

Karns Quality Foods, Friendly Drive, Duncannon, Pa.

Technology provider: ECRS Point of Sale Solutions

Incentives offered: NI

  • The ECRS Catapult POS system includes native capability for store shoppers who use the Catapult loyalty platform to earn and redeem incentive points based on GusNIP eligible produce purchases.
  • Shoppers enroll in a loyalty program and when system “sees” a SNAP card used for qualifying incentive purchases, points are awarded automatically to the customer loyalty account once customers use their phone number to identify as loyalty shoppers.
  • All earnings and redemptions are automatic and do not involve cashier intervention.

Save-A-Lot, Allegheny Avenue, Philadelphia

Technology Provider: SNAP2Save

Incentives offered: NI, PPR

  • For the NI program, when shoppers swipe their SNAP EBT card, the SNAP2Save application is activated on the POS system.
  • The SNAP2Save application along with the POS determines item eligibility and a discount amount is deducted from the order total by the POS system.
  • For the PPR Program, a unique, single-use barcoded voucher is provided to clinic patients and scanned at the POS when eligible items are part of the order.
  • At the store, the voucher is then scanned at the POS. Upon approval of voucher via the SNAP2Save cloud-based verification system, voucher discount is calculated on eligible items and subtracted from the order at the POS.

Fresh Grocer, Broad Street, and Shop Rite, Oregon Avenue, Philadelphia

Technology provider: Catalina Coupons

Incentives offered: NI, PPR

  • For the NI program, the Catalina Coupon system generates coupons for use in a future transaction based on shoppers using SNAP EBT to purchase qualifying fresh produce items.
  • For the PPR program, shoppers bring vouchers issued at a participating clinic to the store customer service desk.
  • The clinic $10 vouchers are then converted into two $5 Catalina coupons redeemable for qualifying fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Both the NI and PPR programs are automated, with cashiers not having to make decisions regarding item eligibility.
  • Coupons for both programs are “use it or lose it” where any amount of coupon value less than face value is forfeited by the customer if the full coupon value is not used.

Iovine Brothers Produce, Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia

Technology provider: STCR Inc.
Incentives offered: NI, PPR

  • For the NI program, items are flagged as eligible in the POS system with configurable earn limits
  • A print coupon is triggered when eligible items are purchased and incentive earned amount is printed on a coupon to be redeemed on next visit.
  • This system is automated and does not require cashier intervention.
  • For the PPR program, STCR created a button on the POS system where the cashier enters the value of the PPR voucher with the POS system then determining the value of eligible items and deducting coupon value from the transaction.

Outside of a ShopRite offering NI and PPR programs in Philadelphia, PA.

The Food Bucks PPR team gathers inside of a Save-a-Lot in Philadelphia, PA.

The Food Trust meets with the NGAF TA Center outside of a Save-a-Lot in Philadelphia, PA.

Food Bucks Rx PPR transaction occurring within the Save-a-Lot in Philadelphia, PA.

Iovine Bros. Produce Market offering NI and PPR programs in Philadelphia, PA.

While we might have been aware of these methodologies and spoken with store owners previously, it was a whole new experience to witness these processes in person.

Our visits highlighted not only how many ways there are for retailers to offer these life-enhancing programs, but how important it is for GusNIP grantees, retailers and retail technology providers to work together to identify solutions. We were also pleased to hear how much of a boost these programs have been for retailers, offering a chance to increase their produce and overall sales, benefit their communities and develop more loyal customers.

To learn more about how to bring nutrition incentives and produce prescriptions to your store, visit the NGAFTA Center Website and/or email us at

*The NGAF 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 Nutrition Incentive Hub, funded through a cooperative agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, is a new resource that provides training, technical assistance, reporting, and evaluation for those working to launch or expand SNAP incentives or produce prescription programs. The Nutrition Incentive 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.