New York City grocer Fine Fare Supermarkets is participating in Get the Good Stuff, a produce incentive program for beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.
Under the initiative, announced Tuesday, Fine Fare customers using SNAP benefits to buy eligible fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruit, vegetables and beans will get additional money to purchase more of these items. For each dollar spent using SNAP benefits on eligible produce and beans, shoppers will receive another dollar that can go toward buying up to $50 more in produce per day.
Participants in the Get the Good Stuff pilot include Fine Fare, retail technology partner STCR and The Fund for Public Health in New York City, on behalf of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Plans call for the program to kick off on April 30, 2020, and run through April 20, 2021. Funding is approved through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
New York-based Fine Fare, whose parent is Retail Grocers Group, is the first retailer participant and will offer Get the Good Stuff benefits at two stores in the Bronx (459 East 149th St. and 3550 White Plains Road) and one in Jamaica (8945 163rd St.) in Queens.
Endwell, N.Y.-based STCR, which announced the pilot, developed the loyalty program at Fine Fare that will incorporate the Get the Good Stuff incentive. STCR noted that its team spent months working with Fine Fare owner Frank Pimentel and the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to program the system, designate eligible items, set requirements and create reports to track the initiative’s progress.
“We have heard all positive reviews of the program so far, and STCR is happy to be partners with Frank and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on this new exciting initiative,” Farrell McKenna, general manager at STCR, said in a statement. “We are looking forward to continuing to provide value to Frank’s store, the grocers of New York and a continued partnership with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.”
Low-income zip codes have 25% fewer chain supermarkets and 1.3 times as many convenience stores versus middle-income zip codes, STCR reported, citing a national study conducted by nonprofit The Food Trust and research firm PolicyLink. That dearth of access to healthy food and fresh fruit and vegetables creates a challenge for busy families with few resources and transportation options.
STCR said the Fund for Public Health in New York City will continue to seek more store locations to participate in Get the Good Stuff and work with the Department of Health to implement the program.
To participate in the program, stores must have a maximum of 50,000 square feet of retail space, be located in a New York City ZIP code where more than 20% of the population lives below the federal poverty level, be authorized to accept SNAP, demonstrate at least $1 million in SNAP sales for the previous year, be able to process electronic benefits transfer (EBT) transactions.
In addition, stores must sell a variety of fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils without added salt, sugar, fat or oil; not sell or market tobacco products; and be willing to explore opportunities to procure and sell locally grown produce. They also must use an electronic point-of-sale system and be able to adapt it to identify produce items eligible for incentives and use customer loyalty technology to distribute and redeem fruit and vegetable incentives.