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FY 2022 WIC Shopping Experience Improvement Grant Project Summaries

Grant Overview

FNS awarded grants to 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.

State Agency Summaries

State agency: Arizona
Award Amount: $749,252.00
Project Summary: Arizona will revise and tailor WIC shopping resources using plain language as well as offering WIC shopping resources in languages other than English to better assist all participants. Arizona plans to enhance the EzWIC app with future project funding in FY 2023-2024.

State agency: Chickasaw Nation
Award Amount: $715,679.00
Project Summary: Chickasaw Nation will hire staff to establish a core project team consisting of a day-to-day director, a project manager, a technology specialist, a WIC vendor coordinator, and a Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) coordinator.

State agency: Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI)
Award Amount: $150,000.00
Project Summary: EBCI will provide WIC participants rides to local WIC authorized vendors in conjunction with the Tribal Transportation Program. EBCI will also provide reusable grocery bags to participants, trifold handouts (emphasizing WIC approved foods), and a table display to showcase WIC approved foods.

State agency: Florida
Award Amount: $205,000.00
Project Summary: Florida will implement technology that allows continuous participant feedback which will assist the participant while shopping in the store as well as transform remote shopping into an interactive experience. The results are expected to increase healthy food redemptions and in turn increase vendor sales of WIC approved items by empowering participants and vendors to become active participants in the food selection process.

State agency: Iowa
Award Amount: $90,000.00
Project Summary: Iowa will continue to improve the Multi-State Online Ordering Project through the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition. The current project involves three WIC state agencies (Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska) working to prove transferability of the model and increase access and choice for WIC shoppers in Iowa.

State agency: Inter Tribal Council of Arizona (ITCA)
Award Amount: $266,335.00
Project Summary: ITCA plans to gather information from ITCA WIC stakeholders (WIC staff, participants, authorized vendors, wholesalers, and distributors) to identify the best approach(es) to improving the WIC shopping experience. The contractor will use a mix of benefit utilization analysis, surveys, interviews, observations of transactions and focus groups, as appropriate, to determine barriers and facilitators to a pleasant and efficient shopping experience from the stakeholders’ perspectives. That information, combined with current best practices, will be utilized in creating an action plan for improving the shopping experience including implementation of online shopping. Emphasis will be placed on incorporating cultural components including promotion of traditional foods.

State agency: Louisiana
Award Amount: $750,000.00
Project Summary: Louisiana will develop targeted multi-media training modules for WIC participants, WIC vendors, and WIC program staff. These include educational and outreach materials for use in vendors and clinics, hiring of staff to assist WIC participants with in-store shopping, hiring a project manager to oversee the implementation of self-checkout, curbside shopping and online ordering, developing a digital, interactive in-store WIC product education platform that will provide WIC food item product browsing, a recipe module highlighting WIC approved food items, and will make replacement recommendations if an item scanned by a WIC participant in the store is not a WIC approved food item.

State agency: Maine
Award Amount: $750,000.00
Project Summary: Maine will hire community health workers for two years to support unhoused WIC-eligible refugee and asylee families sheltered in Maine motels and other locations. The community health workers will help the families effectively participate in the Maine WIC program by orienting them to grocery stores in the local area as well as showing them how to use the eWIC card and the WIC Shopping app.

State agency: Minnesota
Award Amount: $528,805.00
Project Summary: Minnesota will hire a contracted business analyst to ensure success with their projects, one of which is streamlining and enhancing the “My Minnesota WIC Mobile app” to improve the shopping experience for WIC participants. Minnesota will also create and implement educational videos, materials, and a toolkit, to help WIC participants identify WIC-allowed foods to successfully navigate through the checkout process at stores using different point of sale systems. Minnesota will offer an opportunity for local agencies to create and test innovative solutions in the communities they serve.

State agency: Montana
Award Amount: $750,000.00
Project Summary: Montana will hire a marketing contractor to focus on the store experience in ongoing outreach and advertising campaigns, using feedback from participants, state, and local staff for the development of printed and electronic materials designed to improve WIC& experience. Montana will revise shelf talkers/signage, statewide shopper outreach/training videos, and in-store recipe guides based on WIC food packages. Montana will also enhance the WIC shopper app with JPMA to include more robust functionality that will increase user adoption and improve the shopping experience.

State agency: New Hampshire
Award Amount: $403,400.00
Project Summary: New Hampshire will hire a project manager to assess barriers to the WIC shopping experience. This will include direct participant engagement (surveys, discussion groups, interviews) and analysis of redemption data both in New Hampshire and comparative states.

State agency: New Jersey
Award Amount: $732,300.00
Project Summary: New Jersey will promote online ordering with in-store or curbside pickup. The project will include hiring a project manager, working with selected stores to further determine implementation needs, and provide training to staff.

State agency: New York
Award Amount: $569,856.00
Project Summary: New York will address vendor readiness to implement online ordering and address the issue of vendor staff unable to assist participants with Limited English Proficiency (LEP).

State agency: Ohio
Award Amount: $315,000.00
Project Summary: Ohio will map universal product codes (UPC) to price look-up codes (PLU) to increase use of the Cash Value Benefit (CVB) and customer satisfaction. The project includes authorized food list translations, development, and providing additional translated documents for WIC participants.

State agency: Pennsylvania
Award Amount: $677,999.99
Project Summary: Pennsylvania will improve the shopping experience by implementing self-checkout. The project will update, revise, and expand both WIC participant and vendor trainings, and develop and disseminate vendor signage (e.g., shelf labels, decals, etc.).

State agency: Pleasant Point ITO
Award Amount: $634,752.00
Project Summary: The Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point will hire a vendor manager to support building vendor relations in the region. The Tribe will also hire a contractor to conduct an online ordering feasibility study and make recommendations to address the remote nature and lack of transportation many participants encounter.

State agency: Rhode Island
Award Amount: $299,619.00
Project Summary: Rhode Island will hire a contractor for a feasibility study on potential improvements to the shopping experience which include implementation of the “store within a store” model, enablement of online ordering for in-store/curbside pickup, enablement of self-checkout at additional WIC vendors, and increasing visibility of eligible products.

State agency: Vermont
Award Amount: $446,205.92
Project Summary: Vermont will hire a project manager to lead a collaboration with the Associated Grocers of New England (AGNE) which is a retailer-owned wholesale grocery distribution center that provides service to many independent retail grocers throughout New England. The project will include enhancing AGNE's collaboration with WIC so that their systems can better support the WIC shopping experience both in the store and online as well as creating a shelf tag with the WIC symbol for an AGNE-wide integrated WIC tagging system that allows WIC shoppers to better recognize WIC products throughout the region.

State agency: Virginia
Award Amount: $750,000.00
Project Summary: Virginia will improve the in-store WIC shopping experience among participants, especially non-English speaking participants.

State agency: Wisconsin (awarded in FY 2023)
Award Amount: $750,000.00
Project Summary: Wisconsin will develop projects to integrate point of sale system development to create a certified WIC EBT system used by convenience stores, allowing them to become WIC authorized.

Page updated: June 20, 2024