Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series
Policy name: Double Up Food Bucks at The Hub on the Hill
Overview: The Hub on the Hill, a nonprofit food hub in New York, has become the first grocer in the nation to accept the Double Up Food Bucks program for online orders using an automated system.
Location: New York State – the Adirondacks and Northern/Canadian border
Food policy category: Food access, food security, nutrition
Program goals: To make it easier for SNAP recipients to access and afford healthy foods.
How it works: The Hub on the Hill is a nonprofit food hub that delivers fresh, local food to individuals, retailers, and institutions in upstate New York. The Double Up Food Bucks program, available in 25 states, is a nutrition incentive that matches SNAP dollars for fruit and vegetable purchases, which allows customers to purchase more fresh produce.
The Hub on the Hill now allows online SNAP purchasers to earn Double Up Food Bucks automatically when they check out and pay with SNAP online. Every SNAP dollar spent on fresh, whole produce will earn one dollar’s worth of Double Up Food Bucks, up to $20 per day, to be used on any future produce purchase through The Hub on the Hill’s online store.
When SNAP customers check out online, they will have the option to “Redeem Double Up Food Bucks” that they have earned by choosing their redemption amount in the “Double Up Food Bucks” icon. Double Up Food Bucks earned through purchases at The Hub on the Hill online are tracked automatically; they can only be redeemed for future online purchases at The Hub on the Hill.
The online program was established by a partnership between Grocerist, a company that provides online grocers with e-commerce technology, and Field & Fork Network, a nonprofit that administers Double Up Food Bucks New York.
Progress to date: In 2019, the USDA launched a two-year pilot program allowing SNAP participants in New York to use their benefits online. In January 2023, The Hub on the Hill became the first community food hub in the US to accept SNAP payments, and in late February, they began accepting Double Up Food Bucks online.
Why it is important: In 2018, nearly 20 percent of SNAP recipients reported transportation barriers as an obstacle to purchasing and consuming healthy foods, and more than 60 percent reported that the cost of healthy foods was an issue. In 2019, the introduction of SNAP benefits for online purchases helped to alleviate some of the transportation barriers, but in states where Double Up Food Bucks programs were offered in stores, the benefit was not available to those who shopped online. Additionally, many of the vendors able to navigate the process of becoming an approved SNAP Online location have been larger grocers, and purchasing local, nutrient-dense foods is not widely available through SNAP Online. When The Hub on the Hill became approved for SNAP Online in January 2023, it was a step toward opening access but due to the higher costs of local foods, the affordability barrier remained.
Introducing this nutrition incentive program online will expand access to their local produce offerings for SNAP users, by helping to overcome the affordability barrier that exists with the higher cost of local foods. The Hub on the Hill has one brick-and-mortar market located in Essex, NY, but provides weekly delivery services to customers across the rural North Country region. Now, those who lack both financial and transportation resources will be able to take full advantage of their SNAP benefits and Double Up Food Bucks to buy fresh local produce online, without leaving their homes. The added support of the Double Up Foods Bucks incentive is even more timely, with the end of SNAP pandemic emergency allotments in March 2023.
Program/Policy initiated: The program began in February 2023.
Point of contact:
The Hub on the Hill
Similar practices: The Hub on the Hill is the first grocer in the US to accept Double Up Food Bucks online. Grocerist and Field & Fork Network are attempting to identify other New York grocers who might implement the program in the future.
Evaluation: Since its launch in 2014, Double Up Food Bucks New York has served over 100,000 SNAP shoppers in New York and resulted in $8.3 million in SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks being spent on 5.2 million pounds of healthy foods. Specific evaluation of The Hub on the Hill’s online Double Up Food Bucks program has not yet been conducted.
- Double Up Food Bucks 2021 Annual Impact Report (Fair Food Network)
- Double Up Food Bucks Participation is Associated with Increased Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Food Security Among Low-Income Adults (Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior)
- Higher Fruit and Vegetable Intake Is Associated with Participation in the Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) Program (Nutrients)
- More Stores are Accepting SNAP Benefits for Online Grocery Orders (Marketplace)
- Double Up Food Bucks (The Hub on the Hill)
- Double Up Food Bucks New York (Double Up Food Bucks)
- Food Access (Field & Fork Network)
- Grocerist and Field & Fork Network Make NY’s The Hub on the Hill First Grocer in the Nation to Roll Out an Automated “Double Up Food Bucks” Program Online (Globe Newswire)
- New York Grocer Brings SNAP Produce Incentive Online (Grocery Dive)
- New York Grocer to Become 1st to Accept Double Up Bucks Online (Winsight Grocery Business)
- New York’s Hub on the Hill 1st U.S. Grocer to Roll Out Automated Online Double Up Food Bucks Program (Progressive Grocer)
- Our History (The Hub on the Hill)
- Payments Tech Startup Forage Enables New York’s The Hub on the Hill to Become First Food Hub in the Nation to Accept SNAP EBT Payments Online (Globe Newswire)
- SNAP Online (The Hub on the Hill)
- Stores Accepting SNAP Online (USDA)
- USDA Launches SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot (USDA)
- USDA Releases Study on Hurdles to Healthy Eating on SNAP (USDA)