The COVID-19 pandemic is worsening the disparities in food access in the United States. As consumers have been increasingly using grocery online ordering services to limit their exposure to the COVID-19 virus, participants of federal nutrition assistance programs lack the online benefit redemption option. With the support of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), retailers are pilot-testing online food benefit ordering in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). By combining the Oklahoma WIC administrative data, the online ordering data from a grocery store chain in Oklahoma, and the COVID-19 data in Oklahoma, this study examines how WIC participants responded to the online food benefit ordering option and how their adoption of online ordering was associated with the COVID-19 incidence. Results show that from July to December 2020, 15,171 WIC households redeemed WIC benefits at an Oklahoma chain store, but only 819 of them adopted online ordering. They together completed 102,227 online orders, which accounted for 2.7% of the store visits and 2.6% of the monetary value of WIC redemptions at these stores. There was no significant relationship between WIC online ordering adoption and COVID-19 incidence in Oklahoma.
© 2023 by the authors.
This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.
Article states: Due to the non-disclosure agreements signed with the Oklahoma State WIC agency and the XYZ store chain, the authors cannot make the WIC redemption data and the online ordering data publicly available.
Original Publication Citation
Zhang, Q., Zhang, J., Park, K., & Tang, C. (2023). Evaluation of WIC online ordering during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence from an Oklahoma grocery store chain. Nutrients, 15(3), 1-11, Article 478. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15030478
Zhang, Qi; Zhang, Junzhou; Park, Kayoung; and Tang, Chuanyi, "Evaluation of WIC Online Ordering During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence From an Oklahoma Grocery Store Chain" (2023). Community & Environmental Health Faculty Publications. 164.