International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) often allows participants to redeem food benefits for various brands at different costs. To aid the program’s food cost containment efforts, it is important to understand the individual and store characteristics associated with brand choices. This study used the WIC Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) data for 239,062 Virginia WIC participants’ brand choices in infant fruits and vegetables (F&Vs) and whole grain bread in May 2014–February 2015, one of the first such data sets available in the U.S. for research purposes. Mixed effects logistic regression models were used to analyze the choice of higher-priced brands over lower-priced brands. Minority participants were significantly more likely to redeem higher-priced brands of infant F&Vs, but more likely to choose lower-priced brands of bread. Participants shopping in urban stores or midsized stores (with 5–9 registers) were less likely to choose higher-priced brands compared to rural stores or large stores (with 9+ registers). Race/ethnicity and store characteristics may be significant factors in participants’ brand choices. The results can help develop interventions that encourage targeted participants to redeem lower-priced but equivalently healthy brands. This may not only help contain WIC program costs, but help participants manage their own non-WIC food expenses as well.
Original Publication Citation
Zhang, Q., Tang, C., McLaughlin, P., & Diggs, L. (2017). Individual and store characteristics associated with brand choices in select food category redemptions among WIC participants in Virginia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(4 364), 1-10.
Zhang, Qi; Tang, Chuanyi; McLaughlin, Patrick W.; and Diggs, Leigh, "Individual and Store Characteristics Associated With Brand Choices in Select Food Category Redemptions Among WIC Participants in Virginia" (2017). Community & Environmental Health Faculty Publications. 23.