We are improving the shopping experience, whether in-store, online, or at a farmers’ market. As the retail market innovates, we want WIC families to be able to shop simply and conveniently. FNS is supporting WIC state agencies as they modernize the shopping experience, both in store and online. See below for more information about these grants.
Expanding Online Shopping
Giving WIC families the ability to shop for food online will make participating in WIC easier, and advance nutrition security by ensuring that WIC participants have equitable access to nutrition foods. In FY 2020, FNS awarded a cooperative agreement to the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition (GSCN) to develop and test WIC online shopping through state agency-led projects. We are excited for these projects to roll out as early as this fall and into FY 2024.
Additionally, in FY 2023, we increased our investment in online shopping. Over the next five years, GSCN will use lessons learned from our current projects to provide the documentation and resources necessary to expand online shopping nationwide. An updated version of the Blueprint for WIC Online Shopping Projects is expected to be released in fall 2023, followed by additional technical resources and trainings.
Visit the Gretchen Swanson Online Ordering Grant website for more information.
Expanding Access to Farmers’ Markets
The WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) eSolutions grant is expanding opportunities for WIC participants to buy fresh, local fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets with their FMNP benefits. This grant funds state agencies’ transition from paper benefits to mobile pay at farmers markets, which is important to ensuring that FMNP can continue to operate. In FY 22, a total of $1,922,084 was awarded to 11 state agencies. In FY 23, an additional $5,558,062 was awarded to 21 state agencies. There will be one more opportunity for state agencies to apply for FMNP grant funding under the FY 2023-24 notice of funding availability; the deadline is Jan. 23, 2024.
Improving the In-Store Experience
FNS is working to make it easier to shop with WIC benefits in the store. State agencies are currently using grant funding to implement or expand self-checkout, work with stores to improve customer service, provide shopping-related resources for families with limited English language skills, expand the variety and choice of foods available, and make it easier to find WIC-approved items in the store. In FY 22, FNS awarded $10,984,203.91 to 21 WIC state agencies to tackle the WIC shopping experience from every angle—from improving in store signage and cashier training, to working toward online shopping.& In FY 23, FNS awarded $100M in WIC Modernization Grants to state agencies; this money can also be used to fund shopping projects, including testing mobile pay in WIC.