Double Your Money: Health Department Partners With Supermarkets to Make Fruits and Vegetables More Affordable for New Yorkers Who Use SNAP

Get the Good Stuff provides a dollar-for-dollar match on purchases of fruits and vegetables for customers who use SNAP at participating local supermarkets

Over $45,000 worth of incentives have been distributed to over 1,850 participants since June

Nearly 1 in 5 New Yorkers use SNAP

A program loyalty card and a key tag for the Get the Good Stuff program. Both have a picture of a freshly washed apple. Card reads: Use SNAP and get the good stuff for free.

November 21, 2019 — The Health Department today announced the launch of Get the Good Stuff, a new program that offers a dollar-for-dollar match of eligible fruits, vegetables and beans purchased by New Yorkers in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, previously food stamps) at participating supermarkets. For every $1 spent in SNAP benefits at participating supermarkets on eligible fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits, vegetables and beans, shoppers get $1 added to a program loyalty card to spend on eligible foods on their next purchase. Shoppers can earn up to $50 in incentives on their Get the Good Stuff card per day. The program is available at 3 supermarkets with a fourth launching in early 2020.

“Get the Good Stuff can double the produce budget of New York’s SNAP participants,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “This program makes it easier for New Yorkers to put nutritious food on the table. And, by using federal dollars and digitizing rewards on eligible SNAP purchases, New York City has created a model for the nation.”

“We know that a nutritious diet is key to promoting health and wellbeing. Every day, we provide essential food assistance so that New Yorkers can feed their families and we’re squarely focused on making sure nutritious foods are accessible to all,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “This program will help 1.5 million SNAP recipients, including families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities, stretch their benefits to purchase healthy foods, so that no family has to choose between eating healthy and eating enough. We applaud this effort and look forward to its expansion.”

“Not only will this program make it easier for New Yorkers to purchase great fruits and vegetables, but they can buy them in a way that works best for them – fresh, frozen, or even canned,” said Kate MacKenzie, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy. “It is important that program participants have these choices to make it easier to feed their families.”

Get the Good Stuff is one of the only fully electronic nutrition incentive programs in the nation to include frozen, canned and dried fruits, vegetables and beans. Over 1,850 people have enrolled in the program at three stores since June 2019 and more than $45,000 in incentives have been distributed.

Nearly 1 in 5 New Yorkers (1.5 million people) use SNAP. In 2017, New York City adults with low incomes consumed one serving less of fruits and vegetables each day compared to high-income adults (2 servings versus 3).

Several bags of goya beans on a grocery store shelf.
A sign promoting Get the Good Stuff at a participating supermarket. Credit: NYC Health Department.

The Health Department worked with point-of-sales vendors – which support the software used at the checkout counter – to develop a fully electronic system to distribute and redeem points. Health Department staff identified the products in the stores’ inventories eligible for the incentive, and the vendors programmed the systems to recognize when participants use SNAP to purchase eligible items and add value to their Get the Good Stuff card.

Shoppers with SNAP benefits can sign up for the program at participating stores’ customer service desk. Once enrolled, shoppers earn incentives on SNAP purchases of eligible fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits, vegetables and beans without added sugar, salt or fat. Incentives are loaded on a program loyalty card and can be spent on customers’ next purchase of eligible foods.

Eligible foods include:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Frozen fruits and vegetables without added sugar, salt or fat
  • Canned fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils without added sugar, salt or fat
  • Dried beans and lentils

The program is currently available at the following stores:

  • Fine Fare Supermarket, 8945 163rd Street, Jamaica, Queens
  • Fine Fare Supermarket, 459 East 149th Street, Bronx
  • Fine Fare Supermarket, 3550 White Plains Road, Bronx
  • Three Guys, 6502 Fort Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn [Launching early 2020]

“Every New Yorker should have equitable access to healthy food. The Get the Good Stuff program will help New Yorkers who receive federal nutrition assistance increase their buying power to purchase even more fruits and vegetables. This incentive will help families get the nutritious foods they need without having to sacrifice spending on other critical needs,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“Food is our best defense when it comes to preventing and treating disease. Making whole plant foods such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and legumes accessible to all New Yorkers is imperative for improving and securing the health of our communities. I applaud the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on their new “Get the Good Stuff” dollar-matching program, which will encourage SNAP recipients to purchase and consume more healthfully,” said Eric L. Adams, Brooklyn Borough President.

“A key step we can take to fighting hunger and combat ‘food deserts’ is to make healthy, affordable, good choices available to the greatest number of customers,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. “Programs such as ‘Get the Good Stuff,’ that match our residents in the SNAP program dollar-for-dollar when they purchase fruits, vegetables and beans, are important to support and expand. This allows for our most needy communities to not only get bang for the buck in their grocery shopping, but it helps them extend their limited funds to help feed their families. I want to thank Deputy Commissioner Dr. Torian Easterling and the New York City Health Department as well as all the supermarkets participating in the ‘Get the Good Stuff’ program.”

“I commend the NYC Department of Health for launching the new Get the Good Stuff program to improve access to quality and affordable fruits, vegetables and beans for all New Yorkers currently using SNAP,” said State Senator Luis R. Sepúlveda. “Making healthy eating accessible is the kind of approach we need to combat structural inequalities and achieve social and food justice.”

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has assisted so many individuals and families to be able to get the food that they need,” said Assemblyman Peter J. Abbate, Jr., 49th Assembly District. “I am delighted that the through the “Get the Good Stuff” Program, SNAP participants will now be able to purchase healthy fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables and will receive a dollar-for dollar match for these purchases. I salute Three Guys who has done so much for our community and provides their customers with excellent products and services for being the first store in Brooklyn to take part in this program, starting in early 2020.”

“Get the Good Stuff continues the NYC Department of Health and the Fund for Public Health in New York City’s legacy of innovative food programming,” said Sara Gardner, Executive Director, Fund for Public Health in New York City. “We are excited to partner on this project to support local businesses and increase access to healthy, affordable food in our city.”

Said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a NYC-based nonprofit group, “We know that, if healthier food is made more affordable and physically available for low-income people, they will be much more able to obtain it and it eat. We applaud this City for this exciting pilot project.”

“Get the Good Stuff is a unique program that our customers see great value in,” said Farrell McKenna, General Manager of STCR, Inc., a retail technology company that services the grocery industry. “We are happy to have partnered with the NYC Department of Health on this exciting new initiative and to have rolled it out at the Fine Fare Supermarket at 459 East 149th Street. STCR looks forward to continuing to provide value to our grocery store partners and to an ongoing collaboration with the Health Department.”

“Independent supermarkets in New York and throughout the country play a vital role in their communities by providing affordable quality food choices,” said Chris Jones, Vice President of Government Relations & Counsel at the National Grocers Association. “Programs that place an emphasis on nutrition education combined with customer incentives to make healthy food choices, such as Get the Good Stuff, result in positive outcomes for both local businesses and the communities they serve.”

“We’re excited to partner with the NYC Health Department and our grocery store customers to increase access to fruits and vegetables and support healthy eating,” said Geovanny Concepcion, Projects Development Director of Beata Technology. “We customized our point-of-sales system to electronically distribute and redeem points to support fruit and vegetable purchases. The system is scalable and easy for stores to implement.”

“We are thrilled to partner with the Health Department to offer this exciting program,” said Frank Pimental, President of 149th Street Food Corp., dba Fine Fare Supermarket at 459 East 149th Street in the Bronx. “Our customers have been lining up to enroll. Some of them think the program is too good to be true – but it’s not, customers paying with SNAP earn a dollar-for-dollar match on hundreds of fruits, vegetables and beans sold at our store.”

“This is a great program and a win-win for shoppers and small businesses,” said Manny Diaz, General Manager of Fine Fare Supermarket at 8945 163rd Street in Jamaica, Queens. “New Yorkers who participate in SNAP have more money to buy fruits and vegetables while neighborhood grocery stores like mine get new customers and sell more produce.”

Bags of frozen fruit on a shelf. A Get the Good Stuff sign above it.
A sign promoting Get the Good Stuff at a participating supermarket. Credit: NYC Health Department.

Eating fruits and vegetables every day can lower your risk of heart disease and some cancers. Fruits and vegetables contain plenty of fiber, which helps you feel full on fewer calories. Beans are an inexpensive source of fiber, protein, iron and vitamin B.

Get the Good Stuff is the latest in a series of fruit and vegetable incentives by the Health Department for people who use SNAP. In 2005, the Health Department launched Health Bucks, one of the nation’s first fruit and vegetable incentive programs. Over the last 14 years, New Yorkers have used Health Bucks to purchase more than $5 million worth of fresh fruits and vegetables. The program is now available at over 115 New York City farmers markets.

Get the Good Stuff is supported with funding from the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture in partnership with the Fund for Public Health in New York City.

Photos from the program are available in English and Spanish.



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