What You Should Know:

  • Banner – University Family Care announced a new partnership with Foodsmart, the nation’s largest food benefits management company.
  • The partnership supports the shared mission to improve the health and quality of life of Banner – University Family Care members through nutritional education and improved access to healthy food at scale. 

Empowering Healthy Communities: Foodsmart’s Holistic Approach to Addressing Food Insecurity and Nutritional Wellness

Approximately one out of every ten residents in Arizona grapple with food insecurity, a concerning statistic that escalates to as high as 17% among Hispanic communities in Maricopa County. The persistent challenges posed by the pandemic, alongside the subsequent economic downturn and disruptions in the supply chain, have led to escalated costs of essential healthy food items and services. Addressing food insecurity entails not only providing nutritious food but also ensuring sustained access to programs that seamlessly integrate healthy options into people’s daily lives.

The Foodsmart initiative has demonstrated significant progress in enhancing the nutritional status, managing chronic conditions, and alleviating food insecurity among its members. With nearly 10,000 Banner members having enlisted the guidance of a registered dietitian through Foodsmart, the outcomes have been promising. Notably, 69% of members with obesity have experienced weight loss, and 11% of previously food-insecure individuals have achieved food security.

Foodsmart’s effective approach connects individuals with personalized nutrition education and culturally relevant food options provided by registered dietitians, supported by tools designed to facilitate cost-effective adherence to their health plans. With dietitians fluent in over 30 languages, Foodsmart is well-equipped to cater to the diverse population served by Banner – University Family Care, including the 40% who are Spanish speakers.

Through this collaboration, eligible Banner – University Family Care members gain access to a range of benefits, including unlimited visits with personal dietitians at no out-of-pocket cost, who offer tailored nutrition education, resource guidance, and budget-friendly meal plans. Additionally, members benefit from the FoodsMART food marketplace, which offers thousands of culturally customized recipes and opportunities to save on groceries through local deals and coupons. Foodsmart Bucks provide further assistance in addressing food insecurity directly, while support is also available for enrolling in and utilizing SNAP/EBT benefits, now accessible through most national and regional retailers online.

Moreover, members experiencing food insecurity and diet-related medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer may receive delivery of ready-to-eat medically tailored meals. These accessible healthy lifestyle benefits, combined with expert guidance from registered dietitians, form the foundation for achieving sustainable health outcomes.

“Our commitment to addressing food insecurity and improving the lives of our members has led us to join forces with Foodsmart, a pioneering leader in improving equitable access to nutritious food. Through this program, we aim to empower members to make healthier food choices that improve quality of life,” said James Stringham, VP & CEO of Banner – University Health Plans. 

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