- SpartanNash announced it has expanded its participation in the Double Up Food Bucks produce incentive program to 29 additional stores, tripling its participation from last year, according to Supermarket News. The retailer-wholesaler now offers the program at select Family Fare, VG’s and Valuland stores.
- The Double Up program provides matching dollars to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program customers. For every produce item they buy, they can redeem the matching dollars for additional produce items in the future. The program also provides matching funds to support local growers. At SpartanNash’s Family Fare and VG’s stores, customers receive dollar matches through their Yes loyalty card, while customers at Valuland receive half of their produce purchases for free. The purchase limit for incentives at all stores is $20 per day.
- Launched in 2009 and administered by the Michigan-based Fair Food Network, the Double Up incentive program is offered by retailers and farmers markets in 23 states and supported by federal, state and private funds. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced $16.8 million in grants to encourage SNAP participants to purchase healthy food.
Recent reports have shown that price remains one of the main barriers to purchasing produce. This is certainly the case for SNAP users, many of whom live on fixed incomes. But what may surprise retailers is the high demand for produce and other perishable foods among these shoppers. According to a recent report from the U.S Department of Agriculture, SNAP consumers spend 40 cents out of every dollar on “basic items” like meat, produce and dairy.
The growth of the Fair Food Network’s Double Up Food Bucks Program shows the value for retailers in promoting to SNAP shoppers. It also shows that these shoppers value items like locally grown produce, which is typically associated with more affluent consumers. According to the nonprofit, sales at participating stores and farmers markets tripled between 2015 and 2016. Stores in Kansas and Missouri recently saw a 70% redemption rate, with produce sales increasing 10%.
By tripling its participation, SpartanNash has cast a major vote in favor of the Double Up program. In addition to SpartanNash, this summer Schnucks offered the program at all 56 of its stores in Missouri. Earlier this year, select Lowe’s Market stores in New Mexico offered 50% off locally grown produce for SNAP consumers through the New Mexico Farmers' Marketing Association in partnership with the Fair Food Network.
The opportunity to increase sales with SNAP consumers seems clear. What’s less certain is the future of the program, with the Trump administration's budget threatening cuts and potential program shifts being debated in Congress as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.