Northgate Gonzalez Market to promote produce to SNAP participants

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Northgate Gonzalez Market said Thursday it will offer programs through its produce departments to promote long-term health among low-income shoppers as part of a program with the Center for Community Health at the University of California, San Diego.

The Anaheim, Calif.-based retailer said it will offer financial-incentive rebates on fruit and vegetable purchases using the chain’s customer loyalty card, as well as special produce promotions, in-store cooking classes, store tours and education on food labeling, to encourage additional purchases for healthy food options.

The retailer also said it will share data with researchers at UC San Diego, including per capita spending and changes among SNAP participants, as they gain more knowledge about healthier food options.

The program evolved from a $3.4-million grant the university received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to increase affordable food access to low-income shoppers who receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“We are honored to work with UC San Diego to support the USDA in the development, implementation and evaluation of a nutrition incentive program,” said Victor Gonzalez, co-owner and VP of Northgate. “It is our goal to develop an effective, efficient and replicable financial-incentive rebate system that can serve as a national model for retailers and contribute to the enhanced health and well-being of low-income community members.”

The chain operates 40 Hispanic-focused stores throughout Southern California.

Similar incentives for SNAP participants have been piloted at Kroger, Balls Food Stores and SpartanNash.

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