WIC Recipients in the Retail Environment: A Qualitative Study Assessing Customer Experience and Satisfaction
By Chauvenet C, De Marco M, Barnes C, Ammerman A
Background: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program is an important intervention for prevention and treatment of obesity and food insecurity, but participation has dropped among eligible populations from 2009 to 2015. Program satisfaction is integral to participant retention, and the retail experience is a vital component of program satisfaction.
Objective: This article applies behavioral economics principles to explore the retail experience of WIC participants and ways in which it may be improved.
Design: The authors designed and conducted semistructured interviews and focus groups with WIC participants.
Participants/setting: A convenience sample of WIC participants aged 18 years and older were recruited through WIC clinics in Texas, North Carolina, Oregon, and Illinois (n=55, 27 participants from four focus groups and 28 individual interviews).
Statistical Analysis Conducted: Responses were analyzed qualitatively using principles of content analysis.
Results: Challenges in identifying WIC-allowable items throughout the store as well as perceived stigmatization during the checkout process were the chief complaints. Study participants described a learning curve in successful use of WIC in retail environments over time. Study participants also reported acceptance of restrictions, such as a requirement to purchase the least expensive brand.
February 7, 2019
Chauvenet C, De Marco M, Barnes C, Ammerman A (2017) WIC Recipients in the Retail Environment: A Qualitative Study Assessing Customer Experience and Satisfaction. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Available online: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2018.09.003