The National Grocers Association (NGA) and FMI–The Food Industry Association have issued an open letter to food retailers, grocery wholesalers, national and state associations, and nutrition incentive program providers, asking them to join together in supporting a new initiative to collaborate with point-of-sale system developers in creating retail transaction and reporting solutions for nutrition incentive programs.
Since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, federal nutrition incentive programs have been gaining in popularity across the U.S., the associations said in a release. For example, the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) in recent years has allowed for the expansion of nutrition incentives, and there has been an increased focus on programs for retailers to provide free or discounted produce to SNAP clients or low-income individuals with certain diagnosed health conditions.
“We encourage all industry leaders to consider signing on to this call to action expressing your interest in the creation of industrywide POS solutions for nutrition incentive transactions,” said Ted Mason, project director for the NGA Foundation Technical Assistance Center (NGAF TAC).
Hannah Walker, VP of political affairs for FMI, added: “We want to ensure that SNAP retailers can offer innovative services to all their customers, including redemption options for SNAP benefits, whether in store or online. It is essential that we continue to advance technology to support all our shoppers’ health and well-being goals.”
Methodologies to conduct nutrition incentive transactions have often proved difficult and expensive to implement at the point-of-sale (POS), hindering expansion of programs in more retail food stores, the associations said. They added that common POS transaction capabilities are needed rather than myriad one-off individual solutions.
The federally funded NGAF TA Center, in collaboration with the Nutrition Incentive Hub, a coalition of partners that supports nutrition incentive and produce prescription projects, wish to facilitate meetings whereby POS system developers, food retailers, associations and nutrition incentive program stakeholders collaborate to develop comprehensive nutrition incentive POS transaction solutions.