Adapting POS Systems for SNAP Incentive Transactions

By: Ted Mason, Retail Technology Consultant for the National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center (NGAF TA Center)

Grocers, supermarkets, and other food retailers are being offered the opportunity to increase their produce department sales, increase customer retention and enhance community standing through SNAP nutrition incentive programs sometimes known as “Double Up” or “Double Dollar” projects in certain parts of the country. RSPA members play a critical role and often face challenges in providing retailers with the ability to conduct these transactions at the point of sale.  In this article, we will focus on the incentive program details and how you can get involved with this opportunity.

SNAP Nutrition Incentives Background
At the simplest level, SNAP incentive projects allow food retailers to offer SNAP shoppers free or discounted fresh produce items with the retailer reimbursed by USDA funding for the free or discounted products distributed. The free products or discounts must be associated with SNAP EBT transactions.

While many SNAP incentive projects have been successfully implemented using one-off workarounds, POS providers along with other retail technology companies have experienced challenges in creating automated POS incentive transactions that do not involve cashier decision making or intervention during the transaction. In fact, there have been food retailers forced to turn down SNAP incentive opportunities due to their POS system being incapable of automatically applying free products or discounts to the transaction based on the swipe of the SNAP EBT card.

The document, Nutrition Incentives Retailer POS Requirements, is the product of a workgroup consisting of 23 organizations who receive USDA funding and partner with food retailers to establish nutrition incentive projects. The workgroup, representative of  nonprofit, local or state government agencies across the country, reached consensus on the baseline functionalities and parameters needed to conduct automated SNAP incentive transactions.

Following up from the Feb. 17, 2022, release of the Nutrition Incentives Retailer POS Requirements document, the National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center (NGAF TA Center) will conduct a free educational webinar specifically for all POS providers, manufacturers, developers and retail technologists about SNAP nutrition incentives and the POS requirements document. The webinar will be held Wednesday, March 30, 2022 at 2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT. Learn more and register today via this webpage.

NGAF TA Center team members will provide general education about SNAP nutrition incentives along with how the document provides guidance to the POS community and retail technologist for the development of automated POS platform-based solutions deployable and configurable at store level.

In the meantime, download the document free of charge or visit the NGAF TA Center website to learn more.