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07/01/2021

NGA Foundation Introduces Nutrition Incentive Workgroup

Aim is to create accurate, efficient point-of-sale solutions for independent grocers
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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NGA Foundation Introduces Nutrition Incentive Workgroup
Nutrition incentives enable grocers to provide additional food dollars, for which retailers are reimbursed, to help low-income shoppers purchase more fruits and vegetables.

The National Grocers Association Foundation (NGAF) held the inaugural meeting for the POS Nutrition Incentive Workgroup on June 30. The goal of the group is to develop the core functionality required for efficient and accurate nutrition-incentive point-of-sale solutions. Nutrition incentives enable grocers to provide additional food dollars, for which retailers are reimbursed, to help low-income shoppers purchase more fruits and vegetables.

The formation of the POS Nutrition Incentive Workgroup follows an open letter to the grocery industry discussing the need to develop nutrition incentive POS solutions. NGAF worked with the Nutrition Incentive Hub to identify 20 volunteers from the nutrition incentive community who will meet weekly over the next few months to reach consensus on the common functionality required for POS systems to offer nutrition incentives.

The Nutrition Incentive Hub was created by the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program National Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation and Information Center (GusNIP NTAE Center), which supports such nutrition incentive projects as SNAP incentives and produce prescription projects. The GusNIP NTAE Center is led by the Omaha, Neb.-based Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, which, with Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Fair Food Network, assembled the hub, a coalition of evaluators, researchers, practitioners, and grocery and farmers’ market experts from across the United States dedicated to increasing access to affordable healthy food for people in underserved areas. 

To facilitate the new workgroup, NGAF has partnered with Peter Relich, an expert in electronic payments. Relich has led various standards and consensus-building efforts over the course of his career, and was a key member of the team that transitioned the industry from paper food stamps to Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT).

“This group is embarking on an exciting opportunity to streamline the development of POS technology for SNAP incentives and leave a lasting legacy for implementing these programs in grocery stores,” noted Ted Mason, project director for the NGAF Technical Assistance Center, which serves as a grocer resource for nutrition incentives. “NGAF looks forward to sharing the developed functionality and reporting document created by this workgroup with POS developers in the future.”

NGAF is the 501(c)3 nonprofit arm of the Washington, D.C.-based National Grocers Association. The foundation provides independent retailers with the tools to create more effective recruiting programs, improve retention efforts, and strengthen professional leadership development opportunities for employers.

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