Published: January 2023

ID #: CAS072

Journal: Nutrients

Authors: Zhang Q, Zhang J, Park K, Tang C

See more related research


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.

Related Research

September 2020

Online Ordering and Curbside Pick-up for WIC Participants during the COVID-19 Pandemic

A growing number of consumers are ordering groceries online and picking them up in-store (OOPIS) to limit their exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Although OOPIS has been widely adopted, WIC participants in most states are unable to use OOPIS to redeem their WIC benefits due to significant legal barriers. To overcome these barriers, Prime Time More

February 2023

Rapid Health Impact Assessment on Changes to School Nutrition Standards to Align with 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The national school breakfast and lunch programs administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are cornerstone federal nutrition assistance programs. School meals are one of the healthiest sources of foods for school-age children, which is significant as some children receive up to half of their daily calories at school. Policy opportunities in 2023 More

September 2022

Implementing SNAP During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perspectives from the National Network of State SNAP Administrators

SNAP was a critical component of the COVID-19 pandemic response. The beginning of the pandemic saw the largest increase in applications in the program’s history, and the pandemic fundamentally altered how SNAP agencies deliver benefits, interact with participants, and provide supportive services. The goal of this research was to examine SNAP implementation during the first More