Hitchcock’s Markets Introduces Nutrition Incentives
North central Florida independent grocer Hitchcock’s Markets has joined forces with the Fresh Access Bucks (FAB) program in the Sunshine State, part of the nonprofit Feeding Florida food bank network, to offer nutrition incentives in all but one of its stores. FAB partners with farmers markets to provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) customers a discount on fruits and vegetables with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Hitchcock’s has become the program’s first independent grocer participant.
“Helping out our community is the biggest thing,” noted Giselle Alvarez, Hitchcock’s VP of operations. “We are very connected to our community. We know our customers.”
“Hitchcock’s meets all of our requirements,” said Katie Delaney, co-manager of the FAB program, whose team focuses on rural communities and underserved areas. “Working with Hitchcock’s has been a dream, as they really care about their community.”
According to Delaney, the National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center (NGAF TA Center) helped connect FAB with Hitchcock’s and dealt with technical requirements at the point of sale (POS). “The connection blossomed under leadership of NGAF,” she observed, adding that the NGAF TA Center team offered technology options to handle incentive transactions. “FAB has three other retailers, but this is the first time we have been able to take a POS system and use it as an umbrella [for several stores].”
Under Hitchcock’s program, SNAP customers receive coupons for as much as $10 toward fresh fruits and vegetables. If the customer spends more than $10 in SNAP, they get $10 in fruits and vegetables. For purchases under $10, they get a direct match in Fresh Access Bucks. Hitchcock’s is fully reimbursed by FAB for all incentives redeemed by SNAP shoppers.
“The timeliness of this launch is relevant, given the new number of SNAP recipients and the need in Florida,” said Meghan Fiveash, FAB’s communications coordinator. “The need is greater right now, and it’s very relevant to bring this across the state at this moment.”
“With everything going on in the world,” added Alvarez, “it’s good to know you are giving customers the possibility to change their eating habits after the pandemic is over.”
Alachua, Florida-based Hitchcock’s is a family-owned and -operated chain of 12 grocery stores and two pharmacies.