Policy brief shows increase in WIC cash value benefit increases redemption for fresh fruits and vegetables

Jun 19, 2024

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC, provides nutrition assistance to low-income pregnant and postpartum women. The WIC cash value benefit (CVB) for fruits and vegetables was increased from $9/month to $35/month in June 2021 and was revised further to $25/month from October 1, 2022 to September 30, 2023. A new policy brief from the Nutrition Policy Institute and PHFE-WIC researchers shows how an increase in the CVB increased the redemption amount and diversity of fruits and vegetables purchased among participating families. The brief highlights findings from a larger study of 1578 WIC-participating families in Los Angeles, California that analyzed their purchases during the increase of the CVB. Study results show that the increased CVB led to significant rises in both the prevalence and dollar amount of fruit and vegetable redemption, benefiting 53 of 54 commodity groups and enhancing dietary diversity for participating households. The policy 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 with the Nutrition Policy Institute.

By Brianna Aguayo Villalon
Author - Student Communications Fellow