- The National Grocers Association (NGA) and the Food Industry Association (FMI) have started a new initiative to promote additional retail transaction and reporting solutions for nutrition incentive programs, which let retailers provide free or discounted produce items.
- FMI and NGA are asking food retailers, wholesalers, other associations and nutrition incentive program providers to work with point-of-sale system developers to create industry-wide POS solutions for nutrition incentive transactions.
- While federal nutrition incentive programs have been gaining traction for the past few years, expansion often hits hurdles with expensive and “difficult” transactions at the point of sale, according to FMI and NGA. “Common POS transaction capabilities are needed rather than thousands of inefficient one-off individual solutions,” the statement from NGA said.
The main hurdle for retailers in offering nutrition incentive programs currently lies with POS systems not triggering discounts or promotions for certain payment methods like SNAP EBT, the associations said.
"Current and emerging nutrition incentives now require the ability for all POS systems to efficiently and accurately provide discounts and promotions based on the way a customer pays," the open letter stated.
The letter continued: "Developing nutrition incentive POS solutions is not a competitive issue at the individual POS system manufacturer level. It is about efficiently developing common solutions for a new food retailing transaction type with a broad stroke rather than thousands of inefficient one-off individual solutions."
The associations are also asking industry leaders to sign a call to action in support of the efforts.
The NGA Foundation Technical Assistance Center (NGAF TAC) is working with the Nutrition Incentive Hub to offer meetings for POS system developers, food retailers, associations and other groups involved in nutrition incentive programs to help create the new transaction solutions.
Ted Mason, program director for the NGAF TAC, also said in the announcement that more education is needed in the retail space about nutrition incentives and how point of sale solutions work for them.
FMI and NGA aim for the new initiative centered on nutrition incentives to “advance technology to support all our shoppers’ health and well-being goals,” Hannah Walker, FMI’s vice president of political affairs, said in the announcement.
As part of the efforts, the associations want to allow retailers to provide redemption options for SNAP benefits both in-store and online, Walker said. NGA and FMI wrote in an open letter that more nutrition incentives may soon become available, noting that it is likely that new programs for non-produce items will get rolled out and that more stores may start participating in nutrition incentives shortly.