Online ordering is an innovative method being pilot-tested in some stores to facilitate WIC participants’ food benefit redemption, which has become especially important in the COVID-19 pandemic. The present research aimed to examine the online ordering behaviors among 726 WIC households who adopted WIC online ordering in a grocery chain, XYZ (anonymous) store, in Oklahoma (OK). These households represented approximately 5% of WIC households who redeemed WIC benefits in XYZ stores during the study period, which was 1 July to 31 December 2020. This period was during the COVID-19 pandemic but after the temporary lockdown in Oklahoma had been lifted. Descriptive statistics were estimated for WIC online ordering households’ adoption behaviors and their orders. The Cox proportional hazard model and zero-truncated negative binomial regression were applied to examine the relationship between participants’ socio-demographics and the length of time between 1 July 2020, and their first online order, as well as the number of WIC online orders. About 80% of these online orders were picked up without any changes. Minority households had a significantly longer time before adopting their first online order (hazard ratio (HR) < 1, p < 0.001), while households with a child or a woman participant, or more participants, had a shorter time before adopting online ordering (HR > 1, p < 0.05). Non-Hispanic black households had a fewer number of OOs than non-Hispanic white households (B = −0.374, p = 0.007). Online ordering adoption varied across socio-demographics. More efforts are needed to ensure equal access and adoption of WIC online ordering.
Published: February 2022
ID #: CAS072
Journal: Int J Environ Res Public Health
Authors: Zhang Q, Park K, Zhang J, Tang C
Evaluation of WIC Online Ordering during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from an Oklahoma Grocery Store ChainThe 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 More