Double Up Food Bucks looks to expand in 2019

posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Hy-Vee, Fareway to pilot SNAP incentive program in stores

Double Up Food Bucks is celebrating a successful 2018 season and looking ahead to continued growth in the retail grocery sector in 2019. The SNAP incentive program, coordinated by the Healthiest State Initiative, allows low-income Iowans to increase their purchasing power of fruits and vegetables while supporting local farmers.

HOW IT WORKS: Match SNAP $1 for $1 with Double Up Food Bucks

Double Up Food Bucks has seen its sales increase by 91 percent since its launch in 2016, going from six farmers markets to 14 sites across the state including farmers markets, grocery stories and mobile markets. Ahead of the 2019 season, Double Up Food Bucks has already secured additional sites, including multiple pilot locations at two major Iowa grocery store retailers:

  • Hy-Vee grocery stores (Jefferson and Winterset; with more locations to be added in the near future)
  • Fareway grocery stores (select pilot locations)
  • Carlisle Farmers Market
  • Pleasant Hill Farmers Market
  • MmMmGOOD-hue Produce Farm Stand (Carlisle)
  • Dogpatch Urban Gardens Farm Stand (Des Moines)
  • Sweet Tooth Farm  (Des Moines)

SEE ALL SITES: See all grocery stores and farmers markets

“The addition of major retail grocery stores that can be accessed year-round is a game-changer,” said Jami Haberl, executive director of the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative. “Allowing Iowans to utilize Double Up Food Bucks at their local grocery store no longer limits the program to the growing season.” 

To date, SNAP participants have spent more than $110,000 in combined Double Up Food Bucks and SNAP benefits on healthy foods. This has resulted in 98 percent of customers reporting an increase in the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables they buy. In turn, 80 percent reported a decrease in their consumption of potato chips, candy and cookies.


Double Up Food Bucks entered the retail grocery sector in 2018 at three New Pioneer Food Co-Op locations in Cedar Rapids, Coralville and Iowa City.

“Amerigroup is pleased to have played a part in the significant growth of the Double Up Food Bucks program which is improving lives and communities across Iowa,” said Jeff Jones, president of Amerigroup, a statewide sponsor of the program. “We are committed to working with organizations that are working to address basic needs like food insecurity and access to good nutrition because these are vital components to good health.

BECOME A SITE: Double Up Food Bucks is accepting 2019 applications

More than 300 Iowa farmers participate annually in the program, so the wins from the program are three-fold: Low-income families eat more healthy food, local farmers gain new customers and make more money, and more food dollars stay in the local economy.

Double Up Food Bucks receives federal SNAP incentive funding, including a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The funds are then matched with private contributions bringing total project support to nearly $1 million.  Double Up Food Bucks is sponsored by Amerigroup, Wells Fargo, Alliant Energy, and ITC Group, as well as the regional support of local partners.

LEARN MORE: Read the 2018 Annual Report