In the United States, more than 38 million people, including 12 million children, are food insecure. According to Feeding America, many households experiencing food insecurity don’t qualify for federal nutrition programs, causing them to seek alternative options for affordable food. And the pandemic has only exacerbated food insecurity concerns around the world.
Grocery stores are now taking a stand against food insecurity by implementing programs aimed at helping their customers have more access to affordable, healthy foods. A grocery chain in Massachusetts recently announced the launch of their program that provides customers with prepaid debit cards “prescribed” by health care providers to buy fresh produce. Participants will receive their cards, which are funded by health care organizations, by mail and can then use them to buy fruits and vegetables in the store and online.
In Massachusetts, one in seven adults and one in five children are coping with food insecurity. Launching a program focused on bridging the gap between their customers and healthy food access not only directly supports their shoppers but also shows the store is committed to serving their community.
This program is not the first industry attempt to incentivize buying nutritious foods. STCR has worked with grocers across the country to create programs through their software solutions. Double Up Food Bucks and Get The Good Stuff, for example, both encourage eligible customers to purchase healthier food items by offering coupons or card redemptions. These purchases and redemptions are tied to a particular tender type (SNAP & EBT) that help propel further purchases of healthy produce for those shoppers.