Can a better understanding of WIC customer experiences increase benefit redemption and help control program food costs?
By Collin R. Payne, Mihai Niculescu, Joanne F. Guthrie, Lisa Mancino
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program benefits nutritionally vulnerable populations by providing them with vouchers to buy healthful foods. In the retail sphere, the WIC program faces 2 challenges to maximizing its effectiveness: ensuring a positive retail experience that leads to full redemption of benefit vouchers and controlling food costs paid by the program. Unfavorable retail experiences may result in reductions in WIC benefit redemption, switching to other stores (even if expensive), or program dropout. We find that these WIC customer experiences depend on retailer size, store crowding, employee–customer interactions, and retailers’ WIC program management. WIC vendor managers can set normative retailer benchmarks of what is expected for WIC customer experiences resulting in WIC participant retention, thereby nudging underperforming retailers to improve and rewarding already excellent performing retailers.
March 22, 2021
Megan M. Oberle, Rebecca Freese, Justine Shults, Virginia A. Stallings, Senbagam Virudachalam. (2020) Impact of the 2009 WIC Food Package Changes on Maternal Dietary Quality. Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition 15:6, pages 739-752. Available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19320248.2017.1364191