New York grocery hub first to implement automated Double Up benefits online

The Hub on the Hill will be the first grocer to automate Double Up benefits online, which double SNAP benefits spent on fresh produce.
A photo of fresh produce.
  • Non-profit New York grocer The Hub on the Hill is the first to adopt digital, automated Double Up Food Bucks.
  • Double Up Food Bucks matches the dollar amount of SNAP benefits spent on fresh produce. 
  • The Hub on the Hill’s online shoppers who use SNAP will have the Double Up benefits applied automatically.

The Hub on the Hill, a non-profit grocer in New York, will be the first to adopt automated digital Double Up Food Bucks benefits.

According to a Feb. 24 release, Shopify-powered e-commerce grocery solution provider Grocerist has partnered with Field & Fork Network, a New York State non-profit organization, to bring the automated Double Up Food Bucks benefits to the non-profit grocer located in Essex, New York. 

Double Up benefits are available to people who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, according to its website. It’s funded by the national non-profit Fair Food Network. The benefits match the dollar amount of SNAP benefits spent on fresh fruits and vegetables. The program is available in more than two-dozen states, the release said. 

For shoppers who use SNAP benefits online, the Double Up benefits will be applied automatically to their produce purchases. Consumers will be available to redeem the Double Up benefits immediately, or they can use them on any future produce purchases, the release said. 

“Food prices are escalating rapidly, and the Double Up Food Bucks program is a fantastic resource for increasing SNAP recipients’ access to fresh, healthy foods,” said Jeff Anders, co-founder and CEO of Grocerist, in the release. “We’re proud to be working with Field & Fork Network on this important project, which provides a national model for how to implement nutrition incentives and SNAP together online.”

The Hub on the Hill is a type of grocery store called a hub, which directly connects businesses, institutions or sometimes consumers themselves, with products from local farmers and producers. The Hub on the Hill says it has a distribution network that spans from the Canadian border to New York City. 

The same grocer earlier this year became the first food hub to accept SNAP EBT payments online, according to the release. Online SNAP payments in the U.S. began in 2019 as part of the Department of Agriculture SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot. Grocers in the years since have moved to adopt the digital benefit, especially as they look to meet low- and middle-income shoppers and take advantage of the growth in the online grocery space fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The idea now is that the new digital, automated model for Double Up will be scalable to other grocers. The release said Grocerist and Field & Fork Network were already working to identify other New York grocers to work with.

 “While nutrition incentive programs are beneficial to customers and local communities, they are advantageous to the stores operating them as well, but independent grocers don’t always have the resources required to extend these programs online,” said Josh Anderegg, project director for the National Grocers Association Foundation Technical Assistance Center, in the release. 

“The food distribution system is incredibly complex, however, working together, such as in the case with Grocerist, Field & Fork Network, and Hub on the Hill, to provide an automated model can help to make important incentive programs easy and scalable for customers and retailers to participate in across the nation," he said.