Although consumers used online grocery shopping more frequently to limit exposure to the COVID-19 virus during the pandemic, the participants of some federal nutrition assistance programs lacked the option to redeem their food benefits online. Some retailers were pilot-testing online food benefit ordering for the participants of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), one of the largest federal nutrition assistance programs in the United States. Linking the administrative data from a state WIC agency with the online ordering data from a grocery store chain, Study 1 empirically estimates the diffusion of online food benefit ordering among WIC participants, examines the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic-related factors, store strategies, and individual characteristics on the diffusion process, and unveils the existence of a diffusion chasm. Study 2 is a qualitative study in which WIC participants and store employees were interviewed. A service ecosystem framework is developed to explain how the chasm was formed and non-adoptions occurred. The retrospective examination of the diffusion chasm during the pandemic provides important recommendations regarding how to cross the chasm and improve WIC participants’ food well-being.
Published: November 2023
ID #: CAS072
Journal: Journal of Service Research
Authors: Tang C, Zhang J, Zhang Q, Fisher E, Park K
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
The Online Ordering Behaviors among Participants in the Oklahoma Women, Infants, and Children Program: A Cross-Sectional AnalysisOnline 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 More