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Food Package

In November 2022, USDA put forth proposed science-based updates to the WIC food packages. Drawing on the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the 2017 consensus report of an expert review by the National Academies of Sciences, these updates recognize that WIC’s public health success is rooted in science, with healthy foods issued to address key nutrient gaps. In April 2024, the USDA finalized this rule, which will ultimately strengthen WIC’s health outcomes and build healthier eating patterns for the next generation.

The National WIC Association is in strong support of these updates. NWA is committed to working with USDA, State WIC agencies, and other stakeholders to swiftly implement updated food packages and deliver additional healthy foods to the shopping baskets of WIC families.

The USDA final rule will:

  • Permanently increase the value of the WIC benefit. Before Congress increased WIC’s fruit and vegetable benefit, the average WIC benefit was only $36/month. In 2022, USDA estimated a 33% increase in the value of the WIC benefit, recognizing that WIC families were now empowered to purchase a greater amount and variety of fruits and vegetables. Additional steps to strengthen the value of the WIC benefit will support healthier eating patterns and increase the perceived value of WIC participation, enhancing retention and the program’s overall public health impact.
  • Balance issuance in alignment with DGAs. USDA’s  final rule makes the fruit and vegetable bump permanent, significantly expanding access to these underconsumed food categories. Fruit join dairy as one of the most issued food groups in the WIC benefit. USDA also takes steps to boost whole grain issuance for adults and introduce seafood across the food packages, providing greater amounts of whole grains and protein foods. USDA’s final rule is mindful of DGA recommendations to balance within food categories, including shifts to prioritize whole fruit instead of 100% fruit juice and requirements that more WIC-authorized breakfast cereals meet whole grain standards to prioritize whole grain intake.
  • Strengthen nutrition standards to improve quality of WIC-approved products. USDA’s decision to require more WIC-authorized breakfast cereals to meet whole grain standards will encourage manufacturers to put healthier products on the grocery shelf. Similarly, new fortification requirements for yogurt, tofu, and soy-based products will not only improve the nutritional quality of these foods, but also ensure that priority nutrients typically delivered through fluid milk would be found in a broader range of products. USDA’s final rule creates a pathway for nutritionally equivalent plant-based alternatives, further encouraging industry efforts to reformulate and put forth even more products that will deliver priority nutrients.
  • Improve the shopping experience. USDA’s final rule takes a substantial step in relieving burdens on WIC shoppers by embracing package size flexibility. Previously, WIC agencies were more limited in what could be authorized and regulations did not fully account for evolving packaging and manufacturer practices. USDA’s rule would allow smaller package sizes (e.g., single-serve containers and multipacks) that will improve participant choice. Additionally, USDA will put forth a range of new substitution patterns, including for dairy and infant foods, to empower WIC families with greater choice.
  • Address the diversity of the WIC population. USDA’s final rule encourages a greater range of options to account for cultural preferences, including new whole grain options like quinoa, teff, and whole-wheat naan. New substitution patterns and pathways for plant-based products account for the diversity of diet patterns, including vegetarians and vegans, food sensitivities and allergies, and religious-based food preferences.


2023 State of WIC Report: Building the Bridge to a Healthier Future
The 2023 State of WIC report – supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation – centers infant feeding, economic equity, and…
Fact Sheet
Enhancing Nutrition Security: USDA Updates to the WIC Food Packages
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 codified the science-based review process that updated the WIC food packages and sought…
National WIC Association 2023 Food Package Comment
The National WIC Association created a draft comment for the WIC community to submit in support of USDA’s proposed food…

Enhancing the WIC Food Package: Impacts and Recommendations to Advance Nutrition Security
The WIC food packages advance health outcomes by addressing specific nutrient needs of infants, young children, and pregnant, postpartum, and…
Review of WIC Food Packages: Improving Balance and Choice: Final Report
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) began 40 years ago as a pilot program and…
Congressional Letter on WIC Food Package: November 2022
In November 2022, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus issued a joint letter to USDA…

Congressional Letter on WIC Food Package: March 2022
In March 2022, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Reps. Gwen Moore (D-WI) and Don Young (R-AK),…
Congressional Letter on WIC Food Package: January 2022
In January 2022, Congresswomen Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) wrote to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack encouraging swift action…