The National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center has completed coordination of the technical and program aspects of a SNAP produce incentive implementation, known as “Kentucky Double Dollars,” between project partners Manchester IGA, Community Farm Alliance and technology solution provider POS-Plus. The program was officially launched at the store on June 22.
SNAP produce incentives are designed to encourage SNAP clients to include more fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets. As part of Kentucky Double Dollars, 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 prints a barcoded coupon for $10 worth of free locally grown Kentucky produce for use during a subsequent shopping trip. The store is fully reimbursed by CFA for redemptions. Coupons are single use and any unused value is forfeited by the customer.
This Kentucky Double Dollars incentive project was proposed, planned and successfully implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020 and ends Oct. 31. The NGAF TAC provided guidance for project planning, POS transaction design, onsite initial POS system testing and is currently involved with monitoring post-implementation progress.
“Implementation of Kentucky Double Dollars by Manchester IGA demonstrates the positive impact this important SNAP initiative has for consumers in need of its benefits, and also for independent grocery retailers aiming to broaden their service to the community,” said Greg Ferrara, NGA Foundation president and president and CEO of NGA. “Increased sales of healthier foods like fruits and vegetables are a win-win for consumers and supermarket operators.”
Mickey Lawson, director of information technology for Manchester IGA, said he believes the SNAP fresh produce incentive program is a rare opportunity to demonstrate both nutritional and economic value for SNAP shoppers. Manchester IGA owner Jed Weinberg said he “considers participation in the program as a point of differentiation from other area food retailers.”
Kentucky Double Dollars programs already exist statewide in farmers markets and in one retail food cooperative. According to CFA Food Access Program Director Brittany Steffey, the Manchester IGA project is an expansion of the Kentucky Double Dollars program into a pilot project at a retail grocery store.
“We at CFA are excited to pursue this expansion of the Kentucky Double Dollars Program at Manchester IGA and are grateful for all of the work that has gone into designing a robust new system to optimize the incentive process in the store,” Steffey said. “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.”
The NGAF TAC worked with the Manchester IGA technology staff and POS-Plus to conceptualize and develop a transaction that would work within the LOC Supermarket Management Suite POS system. The transaction developed 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, does not require cashier intervention at issuance, only requires cashiers to scan the coupon for redemption and satisfies reporting requirements.
Bob Satterfield, owner of POS-Plus, said, “I am proud of my staff in meeting the requirements for this new type of SNAP transaction for our customer – especially as part of our software support program for the store. We look forward to the opportunity to assist other customers with implementations of this beneficial new program.”
The Kentucky Double Dollars program has been running smoothly without technical or operational difficulties since the “soft launch” on June 15. Weekly redemption growth for the initial four weeks of the program is promising, with an average increase of 43 percent during the first month.
As a partner of the Nutrition Incentive Hub, NGAF TAC helps address the challenges grocers and supermarket operators face in establishing nutrition incentive programs. The NGAF TAC is a resource for grocers and supermarket operators across the country and there are no fees or NGA membership requirements for use of NGAF TAC services. Contact NGAF TAC at [email protected]