ticularly in identifying substitutions to be allowed. Throughout the process of selecting the food packages, the value of the packages to participants (in terms of both dollar value and desirability) was considered. Increased flexibility at the level of the state agency and increased choice by participants were considered desirable attributes of the revised food packages.
The committee heard from numerous vendors and WIC agencies during the process of revising the food packages. Changes were evaluated to ensure that they did not impose an undue burden at either the vendor or the agency level.
In addition to considering the criteria listed above, the committee considered the constraint of cost neutrality in recommending changes to the WIC food packages. At each iteration of food choices, the relative costs of the proposed foods were considered. Some foods that would not fit or were found not to fit in a cost-neutral set of food packages were considered as possible alternatives that could be allowed by individual WIC state agencies, perhaps on a limited basis.
As shown in Chapter 5—Evaluation of Cost—for each revised food package, the committee estimated the average cost per participant per month based on the quantities of component foods in each package, the weighted average price of those foods, and the number of participants in the relevant participant category. The average price of component foods were calculated using data from various sources, as appropriate and available to the committee, as described in that chapter.
Redesigning the WIC food packages was an iterative effort involving identification of foods to omit from the packages or to provide in reduced amounts, the selection of candidate foods to add to each package, and the evaluation of the resulting revised packages using the previously established criteria. Many iterations were undertaken in the revision of the food packages. The results of these evaluations are the revised food packages described in the next chapter (Chapter 4—Revised Food Packages).