Independent grocers call on shoppers to donate to help support local food banks

More than 1,600 independent grocers from across the nation urge shoppers to donate $1, $3, or $5 at the register to support their local food banks and pantries

ARLINGTON, VA, 2017-Jun-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA), the trade association representing the independent supermarket industry, NGA Research and Education Foundation (NGAREF), and Retailer Owned Food Distributors & Associates (ROFDA) recognized today (June 21, 2017) as the “Independents Day of Giving” to help fight hunger and raise community awareness with more than 1,600 independent grocers across the country participating.

Shoppers have been encouraged to add $1, $3, or $5 donations to their grocery bill throughout the month of June, with a focus on June 21, the first day of summer. Each contribution will help support local food banks that are members of the Feeding America nationwide network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs.

“Contrary to popular belief, the highest demand for food is during the summer after the holiday food drives end and the same people who were hungry on Christmas are still hungry in June,” said Peter J. Larkin, president and CEO, NGA. “Locally-owned independent supermarkets have a long history of giving back to the communities they serve and are eager to work with shoppers to help restock their neighborhood’s food pantry by making a small contribution at the register.”

A comprehensive report on hunger, “Hunger in America 2014,” found that the Feeding America network serves one in eight people – or 46.6 million – each year. The USDA estimates that one in six children – 17.9 percent – faces food insecurity, compared to the nation’s overall food insecurity rate of 13.4 percent.

“With children on break from school, families facing food insecurity are forced to find an additional two meals for their kids each day,” said Elizabeth Crocker, vice president and executive director, NGA Research and Education Foundation. “That means finding an extra $300 for groceries when kids are out of school, which isn’t feasible for many families.”

More than 22 million children in the United States receive free or reduced-price school lunches and just four million – or just 18 percent – receive free meals in the summer when school meals are not as readily available, according to 2016 USDA report on the National School Lunch Program.

“One of the most important missions of any supermarket operator and the wholesalers that serve them is to feed the families and support their communities,” said Francis Cameron, president and CEO, ROFDA. “We’re excited to maximize the impact of the independent supermarket industry and give back to their communities.”

“Children need good nutrition all year long. When school lets out, millions of children no longer have readily available access to a healthy school breakfast or lunch,” said Dave McConnell, president and CEO of Making Change. “We are delighted to join NGA and ROFDA for this vital, life-saving initiative to fill the gap for our children so they can reach for their dreams.”

The donations will be collected by Making Change, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit, and redistributed back into the local communities of each participating independent supermarket by Feeding America.

For an interactive map of participating independent supermarkets, click HERE.

Contact:
Tel: (703) 516-0700
Fax: (703) 516-0115

Source: NGA

Independent grocers and state trade association call on lawmakers to defend transparency and competition in the debit marketplace

Arlington, VA, 2017-Apr-05 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today (Apr 4, 2017), more than 300 independent supermarket companies and state trade associations sent a letter urging Members of Congress to preserve the debit reforms, also known as the Durbin Amendment, passed as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In the letter, independent grocers and state trade associations voiced concern over the negative impact that a repeal of the Durbin Amendment would have on their day-to-day operations and their company’s bottom line.

The letter was sent in anticipation of U.S. Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) reintroducing the Financial CHOICE Act, which would undo the Durbin Amendment. The provision successfully reformed anti-competitive price fixing in the debit marketplace by requiring that at least two unaffiliated debit routing networks be available for all purchase made using debit cards. The provision also limited debit interchange fees to 21 cents per transaction, as well as a 0.5 percent fee on all transactions to cover fraud losses and a one cent fraud prevention fee. Consequently, today’s average debit swipe fee of 24 cents provides businesses relief from the world’s highest debit fees.

“Prior to the implementation of debit reforms, Visa and MasterCard were able to sign exclusivity agreements with banks, effectively eliminating dozens of regional debit routing networks and rapidly moving the debit routing market towards a duopoly,” the letter states. “The routing provision of the debit reforms passed in 2010 have spurred networks to compete with one another, prompting networks to innovate. Because of these reforms, debit networks have competed extensively to better secure their payments, providing significant benefits throughout the payments chain.”

In a recent study among independent supermarkets, debit cards represented the most frequently used payment method in 2015 and accounted for nearly double the number of transactions since 2000. The results also reflected that the fees placed on supermarkets were the fastest growing cost for most companies and the only expense retailers were unable to control.

“While banks and financial institutions enjoy a hefty 25 percent profit margin and earn nearly $79 billion each year in swipe fees, independent supermarkets operate on the one to two percent profit margin annually while continuing to offer the lowest possible prices in a highly competitive market,” said Greg Ferrara, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs, National Grocers Association. “Congress should be protecting Main Street grocers from the price-gouging that’s historically taken place, not enshrining it into the law.”

Retailers have saved billions since the passage of the Durbin Amendment and allowed supermarkets to maintain level prices on the goods they sell, according to economist Robert Shapiro. In fact, the Durbin Amendment has supported over 37,000 jobs over the past five years and saved consumers nearly $6 billion after the first year since implementation due to products being offered at lower prices as a result of lowered interchange fees.

The independent supermarket channel is accountable for close to 1 percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating nearly $131 billion in sales, 944,000 jobs, $30 billion in wages, and $27 billion in taxes.

Contact:

Tel : (703) 516-0700
Fax: (703) 516-0115

Source: NGA

Independent grocers urges Members of Congress to protect debit card swipe fee reform

ARLINGTON, VA, 2016-Sep-07 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today (Sep 6, 2016), more than 400 merchants from across the country sent a letter to Members of Congress urging them to protect debit card swipe fee reform, also known as the Durbin Amendment that was included in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.  Nearly half of the signatories were independent grocers who joined this effort to voice concern over the potential negative impacts that a repeal of the Durbin Amendment would have on their businesses.

The letter, addressed to Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Jeb Hensarling and Congressman Randy Neugebauer calls for Congress to maintain the reforms passed as part of the Durbin Amendment and preserve increased competition in the debit market.

Greg Ferrara, senior vice president of government relations and public affairs of the National Grocers Association (NGA) stated: “As a founding member of the Merchants Payments Coalition, we are grateful for the number of NGA member companies that took action on this issue. The independent supermarket industry plays a vital role in America’s economy and when nearly 170 Main Street Grocers stand with other retail organizations and companies to tell Members of Congress about the direct benefits the Durbin Amendment has had on their businesses and the communities they serve, Congress listens.”

The Durbin Amendment has brought increased competition in the debit routing market and helped cut down the price-fixed fees that the largest U.S. banks charge merchants for purchases made on debit cards.

Contact:

Tel: (703) 516-0700
Fax:  (703) 516-0115

Source: NGA