AppCard, a leader in personalized marketing, loyalty, digital coupons and shopper analytics, will be present in the National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center (NGAF TA Center) Nutrition Incentives Solutions Booth (NISB) during the 2021 NGA Show, Sept. 19-21, in Las Vegas. AppCard recently implemented a new SNAP produce incentive solution with a Shop ‘n Save store in Greensburg, Pa., using the AppCard loyalty platform.

Nutrition incentives are helping grocers all over the country increase their produce sales, retain customers and achieve greater engagement with their store community. But creating automated point-of-sale (POS) transactions to properly process and track nutrition incentives can be challenging. With these challenges in mind, the NGAF TA Center searches for and works with POS companies and other retail technology providers, such as AppCard, to provide retailers with new capabilities for providing efficient and accurate nutrition incentive transactions and reporting.

“We’re operating an older POS system that has limited capability to process SNAP produce incentive transactions and we didn’t want cashiers having to make decisions about product eligibility and incentive amounts.” said Greensburg Shop ‘n Save owner Tom Charley. “Since we were already an AppCard client, they really came through for us in creating an automated SNAP produce incentive capability that our cashiers and customers really like.”

The Food Trust (TFT), the USDA grant recipient providing funding for the Shop ‘n Save incentive program, worked with Shop ‘n Save and AppCard to define how the transaction needed to be structured. “AppCard helped open the door for our Food Bucks program in the Greensburg area and make fresh produce more affordable for shoppers paying with SNAP,” said Gwen Ockenlaender, TFT Food Bucks project coordinator.

How AppCard conducts SNAP produce incentive transactions
“It makes sense that AppCard use our powerful platform to pull together the SNAP shopper, the store and the grant agency to conduct this transaction,” said David Beach, AppCard’s account director. “We look forward to working with other retailers using our platform to deliver this capability.”

This new AppCard solution has been developed specifically for SNAP produce incentives. When SNAP shoppers purchase fresh fruits and vegetables using SNAP EBT and present their store loyalty card, a barcoded coupon is printed by the AppCard terminal, the coupon is redeemable for more fruits and vegetables during a future transaction. The AppCard solution automatically determines products eligible for issuing the coupon and during redemption. The solution works automatically and no cashier intervention is required during the transaction. Robust reporting on coupon issuance and redemption is also included with the solution. AppCard welcomes retailers to visit Booth 619 after learning about incentives in the NGAF TA Center booth.

What is GusNIP and how does the funding work?
The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Grant Program (GusNIP) is a $250 million, 5-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Each year, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) issues a solicitation inviting interested nonprofit entities and state/local government agencies to submit proposals to administer nutrition incentive programs with grocers. Grocers are not eligible to apply for GusNIP funding and must partner with organizations who have received funding.

For SNAP produce incentive programs, there is a required 1:1 match where for every $1 provided by GusNIP, the grant applicant is required to provide an additional $1. Generally, retailers are not required to provide a direct or match funding for programs. There is no federal match requirement for produce prescription programs.

What are nutrition incentives?
Nutrition incentives allow food retailers to provide extra GusNIP food dollars to help low-income shoppers buy more fruits and vegetables. Retailers are reimbursed for the value of discounts and free products distributed via the programs.

There are two primary nutrition incentive programs being conducted by retailers across the country.

  • SNAP produce incentives provide benefits to SNAP customers when they purchase produce – benefits that can be used to purchase more produce (although occasionally the model might function a bit differently, i.e., discount on produce when purchasing any SNAP eligible items).
  • Produce prescription sare issued by healthcare providers to low-income patients whose health conditions could be improved by eating more fruits and vegetables. Produce prescriptions are redeemed for eligible foods at participating food retailers.

Nutrition incentive programs are not available to all retailers due to funding/program availability. However, retailers who are incentive ready may be better positioned to implement a program when available in their area.

Learn what we do and more about nutrition incentives
The NGAF TA Center serves as the grocer resource for nutrition incentives. They address the challenges grocers face in establishing nutrition incentive programs and there are no fees for assistance with nutrition incentive implementations as their services are funded by GusNIP. The team answers retailer questions, assists in program planning and helps identify solutions at the POS level to run nutrition incentive programs. Additionally, they also help stores identify grantees for incentive partnerships. Visit us at Booth 1217!

Want to bring nutrition incentives to your store? Shoot us an email at incentives@nationalgrocers.org.

*The NGAF TA Center addresses the challenges grocers and supermarket operators face in establishing nutrition incentive programs and is a proud partner of the Nutrition Incentive Hub. The Nutrition Incentive Hub, funded through a cooperative agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, is a new resource that provides training, technical assistance, reporting, and evaluation for those working to launch or expand SNAP incentives or produce prescription programs. The Nutrition Incentive Hub is led by Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition in partnership with Fair Food Network along with a coalition of evaluators, researchers, practitioners, and grocery and farmers market experts from across the country dedicated to strengthening and uniting the best thinking in the field to increase access to affordable, healthy food to those who need it most.