New data brief demonstrates how an increase to the WIC cash value benefit affected fresh fruit and vegetable redemption trends

Jan 12, 2023

A new research brief from the Nutrition Policy Institute and PHFE-WIC researchers shows that an increase in the WIC cash value benefit (CVB) enabled WIC participants to introduce more fresh fruits and vegetables to their diets. The CVB was increased in June 2021, from $9 per month to $35 per month per child, and later revised to $24 per month per child in October 2021. After adjustment for inflation, the WIC CVB will remain at $25 per month through September 2023. The data brief represents findings from a larger study of over 2,700 WIC participants in Southern California, which recorded experiences and perceptions of the COVID-related increase to the WIC CVB. Data show that as CVB amounts increased, WIC participants spent more money on fruits and vegetables, and purchased a greater variety of fruit and vegetables. Results support permanent increases to the CVB to increase access to nutritious fruits and vegetables by low-income families. The brief was developed by Catherine Yepez, Christopher Anderson, and Shannon Whaley of PHFE-WIC, a program of Heluna Health, in collaboration with Lauren Au of the University of California, Davis, Department of Nutrition, and Marisa Tsai and Lorrene Ritchie of the Nutrition Policy Institute at the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. This research was supported by Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Grant No. 77239).

By Katherine Lanca
Author - Graduate Student
By Danielle L. Lee
Editor - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Lorrene Ritchie
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist