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SpartanNash-DoubleDollars.jpg Kari Paine for Fair Food Network

SpartanNash expands produce incentive program

VG’s, ValuLand banners join Double Up initiative as federal funds support growth

SpartanNash on Wednesday said it was expanding its participation in the Double Up Food Bucks healthy food incentive program, bringing on an additional 29 stores including select VG’s and ValuLand stores. The additional stores triple SpartanNash’s participation in the Double Up program in 2017, with 46 stores now taking part throughout Michigan.

Double Up Food Bucks matches Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables with a financial benefit to local growers as participating stores prioritize local sourcing. The program allows shoppers to earn points as they buy fresh produce to redeem for free fruits and vegetables.

The Double Up program, administered by Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Food Fair Network and initially launched at five Michigan farmer’s markets in 2009, is a national model for healthy food incentives active in 23 states with support from federal, state and private sources. The USDA earlier this month announced $3.5 million in federal funding to support the program in Michigan, Colorado and New York.

The federal funding will also support technology innovations, including a program in Michigan that would allow shoppers to earn Double Up points at one venue and redeem them in a different location.

“SpartanNash understood early on the power of produce incentives to better serve its customer and the broader community,” Oran Hesterman, president and CEO of Fair Food Network, said in a statement. “We appreciate SpartanNash’s continued partnership to bring this proven public-private partnership to more stores across the state.”

For each dollar of fresh produce SNAP customers purchase using their EBT Bridge Card and SpartanNash’s Yes loyalty account, an equivalent amount of dollars will be earned and placed on their loyalty account. Shoppers can then redeem the Double Up dollars for free fruits and vegetables at participating Family Fare and VG’s locations, with a maximum dollar-for-dollar match of $20 per day on their account.

SpartanNash’s discount ValuLand stores do not participate in the Yes loyalty program. At those participating stores, every time a SNAP customer purchases fresh fruits and vegetables using an EBT Bridge Card, the customer will get half of the produce for free, up to $20 a day.

“Sourcing and selling local Michigan produce is a key strategic priority for us, as is supporting our store guests with programs like Double Up,” said Larry Pierce, EVP, merchandising and marketing for SpartanNash. “We strive to offer the largest selection of locally grown produce in our retail stores and to our more than 350 independent customers in Michigan. This ‘local’ commitment includes our local growers and producers as well as our local communities through programs such as Double Up Food Bucks.”

The USDA earlier this month announced the support for Food Fair as part of $16.8 million in grants designed to encourage healthy food purchases among SNAP recipients.

Click on the download button to access a six-page pdf about the Double Up program.

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