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The National Grocers Association (NGA) and FMI-The Food Industry Association  said yesterday that they "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 POS system developers in creating retail transaction and reporting solutions for nutrition incentive programs.

“We encourage all industry leaders to consider signing on to this call to action expressing your interest in the creation of industry-wide POS solutions for nutrition incentive transactions,” said Ted Mason,  project director for the NGA Foundation Technical Assistance Center (NGAF TAC). “We hope our leaders will step up to help educate fellow retailers, wholesalers and POS developers about nutrition incentives and the need for industry-wide POS solutions for nutrition incentive transactions.”

“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,” said Hannah Walker, vice president of political affairs at FMI. “It is essential that we continue to advance technology to support all our shoppers’ health and well-being goals.”

FMI and NGA went on:

"Since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, federal nutrition incentive programs have been gaining in popularity across the U.S. In recent years, the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) 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.

"Methodologies to conduct nutrition incentive transactions have often proved difficult and expensive to implement at the point of sale (POS), thus inhibiting expansion of programs in more retail food stores. Common POS transaction capabilities are needed rather than thousands of inefficient one-off individual solutions.

"The federally funded National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center (NGAF TA Center) in collaboration with the Nutrition Incentive Hub, 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."