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Improving the Shopping Experience

Icon of shopping cart with check mark

We want WIC families to be able to shop simply and conveniently, just like other shoppers. FNS is supporting WIC state agencies as they modernize the shopping experience in store, online, and at farmers markets, through both funding and waivers.

See below for more information.


Key Activities

Expanding Online Shopping

Giving WIC families the ability to shop for food online will make participating in WIC easier and more attractive to busy families. Therefore, it is one of the ways USDA FNS is working to improve nutrition security.

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. These projects began rolling out in FY 2024.

On Feb. 29th, GSCN released the second-round WIC Online Shopping Sub-grant Project Request for Proposals (RFP). We encourage all WIC state agencies interested in implementing WIC online shopping projects to apply. Proposals are due by May 9th at 5 PM CT. For more information on this opportunity, visit GSCN’s WICShop+ website.

Over the next three years, GSCN will provide additional subgrant opportunities to state agencies. GSCN will also create resources to support streamlined implementation of online shopping using lessons learned from current projects. Resources will include project planning and implementation documentation, technical resources, and trainings. GSCN released an updated version of the Blueprint for WIC Online Shopping Projects in January 2024, and plans to release additional updates on a continual basis.

Visit the Gretchen Swanson Online Shopping Grant website for more information.

Related Resources

Expanding Access to Farmers’ Markets

Like SNAP, WIC also offers benefits that can be used at farmers markets. We want WIC families to know their local farmers markets and become lifelong customers. WIC families can access farmers markets in two ways: through the annual Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) benefit or through the monthly WIC cash value benefit (CVB).

FMNP is a relatively small program with a limited annual benefit. Since 2022, we have provided about $9 million in grants to help 37 FMNP state agencies move from paper coupons to eSolutions (i.e., EBT or mobile pay). This change will make market shopping easier for everyone – families, farmers, market managers, and state agencies. It will also ensure that the program can continue into the future.

We are also encouraging WIC state agencies to authorize farmers and farmers markets to redeem the WIC CVB so that families can shop for more foods each month in local markets. Through the FY 2023 WIC Modernization grants, 24 state agencies are working on projects to allow WIC CVB at farmers markets.

Related Resources

Improving the In-Store Experience

FNS is working to make it easier to shop with WIC benefits in store. State agencies are currently using grant funding to implement and 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 $100,000,000 in WIC Modernization grants to state agencies; this money can also be used to fund shopping projects, including testing mobile pay in WIC. FNS is also exploring the in-store shopping experience through a contract and expects to provide tools and resources to state agencies.

Related Resources
Page updated: April 23, 2024