Bedford Market customers using SNAP benefits to purchase produce will receive bonuses for additional purchases

Bedford Market customers using SNAP benefits to purchase produce will receive bonuses for additional purchases.

NYC supermarket to introduce bonus program for SNAP recipients

New York's Industrial Development Agency on Thursday approved a series of tax incentives to a retailer with plans to build a Brooklyn supermarket that would incentivize fruit and vegetable sales for shoppers who pay for them with SNAP benefits.

The store to be known as Bedford Market is planned for a late 2018 opening in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood. It is owned and will be run by an affiliate of MPM Enterprises, the same company that currently operates four stores under the Union Market banner in some of Brooklyn and Manhattan's wealthier neighborhoods.

The $1.8 million project will receive $933,000 in property and sales tax incentives over 25 years through the NYCIDA's FRESH program, which supports projects that improve access to healthy food in needy communities. The Bedford Market is the 25th project to receive FRESH benefits since the program was launched in 2010.

MPM said it planned to introduce a bonus program whereby shoppers who use federal food assistance to buy fruits and vegetables at the store would receive 10% of the cost of those items in bonuses redeemable for additional fruit and vegetable purchases, up to $500 a month. According to a presentation at IDCNYC's meeting approving the tax incentives Thursday, Bedford Market would be the first supermarket in New York to introduce such a program. Kroger and Balls Foods Stores have launched similar programs in other markets recently.

In an application document MPM said the store anticipated hiring 47 full-time employees. It would staff the store in part by transferring employees from Union Market locations to train new workers. It said the store would be a full-service neighborhood grocery run in accordance with the same "core values" at Union Market, and endeavor to "teach our customers about the healthy food we sell."

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