Grocery stores understand the undercurrent of their customers not wanting to cook from scratch so they are doing all that they can to edify their relationship. One of the largest sectors of user’s grocery stores in 2020 were the 44 million Americans that are using the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funded at 79.22 billion U.S. dollars.
Recently Stop & Shop announced plans to go chainwide with a program that offers food insecure consumers prepaid debit cards “prescribed” by health care providers to buy fresh produce. According to Steven Johnson, Grocerant Guru® at Tacoma, WA based Foodservice Solutions® that is a good step forward in helping ‘food insecure’ consumers and will go a long way to gain favor with them.”
Stop & Shop said the Fresh Connect program from nonprofit About Fresh is now accepted at more than 100 Stop & Shop stores in eastern Massachusetts. Plans call for the Fresh Connect — piloted initially at Stop & Shop’s Grove Hall store in Dorchester, Mass. — to roll out to the supermarket chain’s 400-plus stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey by early spring.
Stop & Shop noted that, with the expansion of Fresh Connect, it becomes the first major retailer to make the produce-as-a-prescription program available. If you are a convenience store or restaurant we ask how are you extending the ‘halo’ of better-4-you to those 44 million consumers that buy food in every retail channel of foodservice?
In case you did not know; Fresh Connect’s prepaid debit cards, funded by health care organizations, are sent to food insecure customers after they're enrolled by a health professional.
So, Fresh Connect’s prepaid debit cards are funded by health care organizations, primarily major institutions such as Brigham Medicaid ACO, Brigham Women’s Faulkner Hospital and Boston Medical Center. Health providers sign up — or “prescribe” — food insecure patients according to baseline health indicators, and monthly card disbursement amounts are set via the HIPAA-compliant platform’s enrollment form. Participants receive their cards in the mail and can use them to buy fresh fruit and vegetables at grocery stores, restaurants and other food retailers, including online. At checkout, the cost of the eligible items is deducted from the total purchase amount. Once again technology is at work, are you thinking a customer ahead?
Here is a little more background, before partnering with Stop & Shop, Fresh Connect cardholders were able to use their cards only at About Fresh’s “Fresh Trucks” offering fresh produce at sites around Boston and at local retailers. The Boston-based nonprofit said that making Fresh Connect cards available through Stop & Shop gives participating consumers wider access to fruit and vegetables, since many already are shopping at the chain’s stores.
In Massachusetts alone, as many as one in seven adults and one in five children are grappling with food insecurity, numbers elevated amid economic pressures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data from the Greater Boston Food Bank cited by Stop & Shop and About Fresh.
In 2022 it is estimated that 39 million Americans that are using the U.S. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funded at 85.10 billion U.S. dollars. That is a lot of people, a lot of money and a lot of government support for one sector of retail foodservice. Share your ideations on how the government could help you help 39 million consumers?
Are you looking for a new partnership to drive sales? Are you ready for some fresh ideations? Do your food marketing tactics look more like yesterday that tomorrow? Visit GrocerantGuru.com for more information or contact: Steve@FoodserviceSolutions.us Remember success does leave clues and we just may have the clue you need to propel your continued success.