by Josh Anderegg / NGAF TA Center Project Director
I was honored to be on hand for the recent rollout of a nutrition incentive pilot program at two Tops Friendly Markets stores in the greater Buffalo, New York, area. The program is the culmination of a nearly three-year effort between the National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center, Tops, project grantee Field & Fork Network and shopper intelligence provider Catalina.
The collaboration resulted in the development of an automated solution that allows Double Up Food Bucks NY to distribute the incentive more equitably and removes the registration process, which can be a significant barrier to program participation. This program aims to increase access to fresh produce and make it more affordable for individuals with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by providing a dollar-for-dollar match on produce purchases (up to $5 per day).
The TA Center is proud to play a role in bringing Double Up Food Bucks to Tops in historically underserved areas of Western New York. With engaged partners like the ones who came together here, nutrition incentives can help increase food access and security to those who need it most. No one is immune to hunger, and healthy, fresh food has a tremendous impact on communities where options are limited.
The program was launched at two Tops locations: 1275 Jefferson Ave., in Buffalo, and 1000 Portage Road in Niagara Falls. With 149 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, Tops is the largest grocery chain to participate in the Double Up Food Bucks NY program to date.
Our TA Center team is honored to work with dedicated grantees like Field & Fork, which shares our mission of broadening food access for those most in need. As Lisa French, Field & Fork co-founder and executive director, noted, “Our goal is to enhance food access, promote healthier eating habits and support local farmers in the process. By providing a dollar-for-dollar match on produce purchases, we aim to empower individuals and families to make nutritious choices without financial constraints.”
And we’re pleased to have tech partners likewise committed to our common goals. Catalina’s Chief Revenue Officer Wes Bean added, “We are delighted to support the great work of our partners at Tops Friendly Markets and the Double Up Food Bucks NY program to help combat food insecurity by leveraging our technology to deliver incentives that enable shoppers to get twice as many fresh fruits and vegetables into their baskets.”
The NGA Foundation Technical Assistance Center addresses the technical and program operational challenges grocers face in establishing SNAP incentive (SI) and produce prescription (PPR) nutrition incentive programs. The NGAF TA Center is a partner of the Nutrition Incentive Hub and dedicated to fostering a collaborative environment whereby retailers and non-profit or government agencies who receive USDA grant funds for nutrition incentive projects (referred to as grantees) are enabled to establish successful nutrition incentives programs benefitting the communities they serve. NGAF TA Center services are offered at no cost and membership in the National Grocers Association is not required. More information is at https://www.ngaftacenter.org/.