The Hub on the Hill, a nonprofit based in Essex, N.Y., has become the first grocer in the United States to launch an automated online solution for Double Up Food Bucks, thanks to a collaboration with e-commerce solution provider Grocerist and Field & Fork Network, a New York State nonprofit that connects communities to programs that promote a sustainable food system.
Currently available in 25 states, Double Up Food Bucks matches SNAP dollars spent on fresh fruits and vegetables, doubling their impact. The Hub on the Hill deployment is the first automated, scalable solution of its kind that other grocers can make use of.
[Read more: "NGA Wants Indies Included in Supplemental Health Food Benefit Programs"]
“Food prices are escalating rapidly, and the Double Up Food Bucks program is a fantastic resource for increasing SNAP recipients’ access to fresh, healthy foods,” said Jeff Anders, co-founder and CEO of Toronto-based Grocerist. “We’re proud to be working with Field & Fork Network on this important project, which provides a national model for how to implement nutrition incentives and SNAP together online.”
In January, the Hub worked with Grocerist and San Francisco-based Forage to become the first food hub in the nation to accept SNAP EBT payments online. With the new solution, SNAP recipients shopping online at the Hub will see Double Up Food Bucks automatically applied to their online account for their produce purchases, with these funds immediately redeemable for discounts on any future produce purchases.
“Healthy food incentive programs like Double Up Food Bucks NY are great for families, grocers and our local communities,” noted Lisa French, co-founder and executive director of Buffalo, N.Y.-based Field & Fork. “When families save money on food, they can use it for other needs. Those reinvestments in communities will help our local economies recover. We’re excited to roll this out with The Hub on the Hill and Grocerist, because e-commerce is becoming an important avenue for increasing access to food in our communities.”
Grocerist and Field & Fork are currently working to identify other New York grocers for similar projects, helping them implement both SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks programs online.
“While nutrition incentive programs are beneficial to customers and local communities, they are advantageous to the stores operating them as well, but independent grocers don’t always have the resources required to extend these programs online,” said Josh Anderegg, project director for the Washington, D.C.-based National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center, a partner of the Nutrition Incentive Hub that provided technical assistance services for The Hub on the Hill project. “The food distribution system is incredibly complex; however, working together, such as in the case with Grocerist, Field & Fork Network, and Hub on the Hill, to provide an automated model can help to make important incentive programs easy and scalable for customers and retailers to participate in across the nation.”