Friday, March 16, 2012

Attracting Food Stamp Customers

In these times where more and more people are struggling with money, consumers may have to turn to the food stamp program in order to feed their families. As an agricultural entrepreneur, these shoppers may spark a new market segment for you to explore.

Food stamp shoppers were a recent topic in the Supermarket Guru's video series on food shopping. In this video, the Supermarket Guru discusses ways to attract food stamp shoppers and keep them coming back.

-Your top goal should be to show that you appreciate their business whether they are using food stamps or not. To do this, you want to build long-term relationships with your customers. One example is to create a customer loyalty program (read more about that here).

-Price tags should include some indication (whether it's a special color, symbol, etc) of food stamp eligibility. As you can see by my rudamentary price tag examples below, the baby carrots (a food stamp eligible item) price tag has a blue background. Diapers (not food stamp eligible) are posted on a red background.

-Teach and encourage customers to choose ingredients for healthy meals. This can include pamphlets on reading nutrition labels, recipe cards, cooking demos, etc.

-Educate customers on cutting food waste including the difference between a "use by date" and a "sell by date". Also, encourage customers to freeze foods if they can't use them by their expiration dates.

As an ag entrepreneur, do you accept food stamps at your business? If yes, have you seen a rise in the number of customers using food stamps? What kinds of products do you see food stamp customers buying most often? Do you offer any education for your customers on buying and preparing healthy foods?

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