Double Up Food Bucks visits the SEIU Health Fair

Fair Food Network (FFN) is currently engaged in an innovative pilot program that seeks to integrate the highly successful Double Up Food Bucks, program into three independent grocery stores. In this pilot program, FFN will provide Bridge Card recipients who shop at one of three stores (Honey Bee Market, Southwest Detroit; Mike’s Fresh market on Gratiot Eastside Detroit; and Metro FoodLand, Northwest Detroit) with a $10.00 reward card that can be used toward purchase of Michigan grown fruits and vegetables when they spend $10.00 on any fresh produce using their SNAP benefits.

This ambitious venture warrants a diverse marketing approach, including a significant “boots on the ground” line of attack to get the word out to Bridge Card recipients in Detroit. On Saturday, August 3, FFN staff personally talked to over 250 attendees at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Health Fair at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park. Most of the attendees that we talked to had never heard of Double up Food Bucks’ dollar match.  FFN staff was confirmed in their belief that one of the most effective marketing methods in a community environment is word-of-mouth information sharing. This method worked beautifully at the health fair as evidenced by the increasing numbers of attendees who visited our booth. However, one of the downfalls of word-of-mouth marketing is that the more the message moves along the network, the more the message is distorted – rather like the old game of “Telephone!”  Some health fair attendees were under the impression that we were giving out $10.00 bills to purchase food or that they were able to use the DUFB rewards to purchase meat.

FFN's Myra Lee explains DUFB at the SEIU Health Fair

Ultimately, although, the attendees were disappointed that we were not handing out $10.00 bills, they were pleased to hear of our promotion and vowed that they would pass on the message to family and friends. All in all, we fully anticipate that our presence at the health fair, along with a strategic communications plan involving a number of old and new media, will generate more foot traffic to the grocery stores mentioned.