New report shares perspectives from over 38,000 WIC participants in 21 states

Apr 15, 2024

Over 38,000 participants in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC, completed a satisfaction survey in summer of 2023. Conducted across 21 participating WIC state agencies in all US Department of Agriculture administrative regions, the survey showed high satisfaction with the WIC program and that participants feel respected, valued and included by WIC staff. The hybrid WIC services introduced during  the pandemic were successful, with two-in-three using in-person services, over half using remote services and nearly all finding it is easy to schedule appointments. The top reasons for WIC participation were the fruits and vegetables in the WIC food package followed by other foods and the education and support from WIC staff. Participants expressed interest in using WIC benefits at farmers markets and requested expanded fruit and vegetable options in states that don't authorize canned or frozen options. The survey illuminated challenges participants experience when shopping for WIC foods, reasons for not buying all their WIC foods, and their desire for expanded shopping options. Results align with the recently finalized WIC food package changes. Findings are available in the report “2023 WIC Multi-State Participant Satisfaction Survey” published online on April 9, 2024. The survey was also cited in an article in The New York Times, "Food Aid Program for Mothers and Children Will Provide More Fruits and Vegetables" and another article in NBC News, "Low-income families have more to spend on fruit and veggies thanks to new WIC rule," both published on April 9, 2024. The project was conducted by Lorrene Ritchie, Danielle Lee, Celeste Felix, Ken Hecht and Hannah Thompson from the Nutrition Policy Institute, Loan Kim, Theresa Tran, Claire Burton and Amanda Kiang from Pepperdine University and Georgia Machell from the National WIC Association. The project was funded by the National WIC Association through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

By Danielle Lee
Author - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Brianna Aguayo Villalon
Editor - Student Communications Fellow
By Lorrene D Ritchie
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist