October 31, 2023

NGA Foundation Leads Charge on Product Prescription Technology Solutions

The National Grocers Association Foundation (NGAF) has wrapped up the Point of Sale (POS) Produce Prescription (PPR) Workgroup, successfully creating a core functionality document for efficient and accurate produce prescription POS solutions. This will be added to the association’s collection of resources that guide grocers seeking to offer nutrition incentives and produce prescription programs in their communities.

Produce prescriptions are programs that aim to positively impact dietary habits and overall health of individuals, particularly those with limited access to healthy foods and diet-related health conditions.

This workgroup was brought together in partnership with the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) Training, Technical Assistance, Evaluation and Information Center (NTAE) and featured representatives from 15 different nonprofits and government agencies that administer PPR programs. The document outlines the POS specifications for successful execution of produce prescription programs in grocery settings. Previously, the NGAF TA Center created a similar standards document using the workgroup model for nutrition incentive programs which has been used by technology providers, retailers and nonprofit organizations across the country.

Over the course of several months, these representatives worked to reach consensus on the common functionality needed in POS systems and payment processors to offer produce prescription solutions. Participants receive access to funds they can spend at grocery stores or other redemption sites on fresh fruits and vegetables through partnership with a healthcare provider.

“I was impressed by the cohesion and engagement of all members of the workgroup,” said Josh Anderegg, Project Director of the NGAF Technical Assistance Center. “Our goal in creating this document was to eliminate the barriers to entry and progress that come with developing new software for retail owners, and we all look forward to the solutions that will be created as a result.”

Ted Mason, Retail Technology Consultant for NGAF Technical Assistance Center, added, “This successful effort proves how organizations operating PPR projects across the country collaborated to provide guidance to the technology community for solution development. This document provides the basic framework of solution needs, while also respecting the unique needs of individual PPR program operators. Ultimately, PPR program operators, retailers and those receiving benefits will be better served.”

NGAF encourages all POS developers and payment processors to use this document as a starting point for their solution to enable their retailers across the country to take advantage of these beneficial programs. Thus far, several POS developers, dealers and manufacturers have supported the document, including ECRS, EPIC Technology Solutions, INCOMM, Longtail Retail, Nations Benefits and nData Solutions.

NGAF will be hosting a webinar to discuss the process that was implemented to create this document (as well as a share out of the document itself) on Thursday, Nov. 9, from 1-2 p.m. EST; if you would like to attend, please register here.

For further questions on how to implement these standards or to learn more about how to partner with GusNIP produce prescription projects, please email NGAF at incentives@nationalgrocers.org.

These efforts on produce prescriptions build upon NGA’s leadership to broaden the acceptance of healthy benefit cards among grocery retailers, including an online toolkit designed to help grocers implement the technology required to accept these payment cards, as well as be an ongoing resource for updates about this benefit program.

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