From apples to zucchini, buying Michigan-grown produce at the grocery store will soon allow participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to earn additional dollars for fresh fruits and vegetables at 17 Family Fare locations throughout Western, Southern and Northern Michigan. The Double Up Food Bucks program is a public-private partnership administered by Fair Food Network with support provided by federal, state and private sources. SpartanNash is the only grocery retail chain with multiple stores participating in Double Up Food Bucks in the state, making it easier for store guests to take advantage of this program at multiple Family Fare Supermarkets. The program started in mid-July and runs through Dec. 31. For each dollar of fresh Michigan produce SNAP customers purchase using their Bridge Card and yes Rewards Card before Dec. 31, an equivalent amount of points will be earned and placed on their yes Card. Shoppers can then redeem the points for free fruits and vegetables at participating Family Fare Supermarkets. Each point is valued at $1, with a maximum dollar-for-dollar match of $20 per day on their yes Card. This is the third year SpartanNash has offered the Double Up Food Bucks program at its Family Fare Supermarkets. For 2016, the number of participating stores has more than tripled– up from two in 2014 and five in 2015. To learn more about Family Fare’s participation in the Double Up Food Bucks, visit shopfamilyfare.com/dufb.
We have partnered with nearly 100 community organizations to help spread the word about the Double Up Food Bucks program. In particular, the Grand Rapids Public Schools shared information with all of their students, nearly 80% of whom are on free and reduced lunches. The Grand Rapids Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Feeding America West Michigan, and Access of West Michigan have all shared the information with their constituents and the residents they serve. The Ottawa County Food Policy Council and Ogemaw County specifically reached out to us and requested that we offer the Double Up Food Bucks program at our Family Fares located in their counties. In addition, as a company, we have invested significant time and money in the IT technology needed to run the program as a part of our POS system and associate training.
The objective of the Double Up Food Bucks program is to provide SNAP customers with easier and more affordable access to healthy fresh produce. In addition, the program supports Michigan farmers and the local economy. “I love that we can offer the Double Up Food Bucks program at our store for the third year in a row,” said Renee Harris, store director of the Family Fare Supermarket located at 45 East Columbia in Battle Creek. “Through the program, we can support local products while helping our customers stretch their food dollars and encouraging healthier eating. I’m excited that SpartanNash is expanding the program to even more stores this year, because it means that more families can put healthy food on the table.”
On average, through October, customers have redeemed 60% of all points earned across the entire program time frame, with our highest performing store coming in at a 72% redemption rate. In 2015, our five participating stores average redemption percentage was 20% and in 2014, our two stores average redemption percentage was 15%. At nearly all of our stores, SNAP shoppers are spending a higher percentage of their dollars on fresh produce than they are on their total basket – as an example, at our Rogers Plaza Family Fare in Grand Rapids, Michigan – SNAP shoppers’ produce sales are 4.41 percentage points higher than their total basket sales in comparison to all store shoppers (July 24 – Oct. 15). This trend has been increasing throughout the course of the program this year. And, of the five stores that participated last year, the SNAP produce sales contribution has significantly increased in all but one store this year. Lastly, we saw a 61% increase in the number of customers participating from August to September. At the end of the 2015 program year, 51 of our SNAP customers were surveyed about their experience with the Double Up program. The survey results showed that 60% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the amount of fresh produce they buy has increased, 34% of respondents agree or strongly agree that they make more trips to the grocery store because of Double Up, and 90% of respondents were likely or very likely to use the program in the future.
“At SpartanNash, we are committed to corporate responsibility, including environmental sustainability and social responsibility,” said Dennis Eidson, CEO and Chairman of the Board, SpartanNash. “The Double Up Food Bucks program, which is offered at 17 of our Michigan Family Fare Supermarkets, is an excellent example of our commitment to supporting our local communities through social responsibility programs. DUFB provides SNAP customers with easier and more affordable access to healthy produce, and it supports Michigan farmers and the local economy. Locally grown produce often has a much smaller environmental footprint, which also enforces SpartanNash’s environmental sustainability efforts.”
“Double Up Food Bucks is helping low-income families stretch their food dollars while improving their diets and supporting Michigan growers,” said Oran Hesterman, president and CEO of Fair Food Network. “SpartanNash has been an instrumental partner in spreading Double Up in grocery stores. We are thankful for the resources SpartanNash has committed to this project and excited to continue our partnership, bringing this program to more Family Fare stores across the state."