This activity is designed to provide data and analytic support for the review of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food packages through analysis of food expenditures, expenditure patterns (total and on food groups) by low-income households, and households participating in the WIC program. The information will be used to estimate the total food expenditures and expenditures on food groups for WIC households to assess the relative contribution of the WIC food packages to their food expenditures. Comparative groups for analysis are (a) WIC households, (b) other households with low income (less than or equal to 185 percent poverty income), and (c) households with income greater than or equal to 185 percent poverty income.
Questions examined in Phase I:
- How much do households spend for food in total, food at home, and food away from home? (in total, and by household composition)
- For households receiving WIC, what share of total at-home expenditures is contributed by the WIC benefit (value of the voucher or electronic benefit transfer card)?
Questions to be examined in Phase II:
- For specific food groups (both food groups in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and food item groups in the current WIC food
package), what share of the total at-home food expenditures are represented by each specific food group?
- For households receiving WIC: for specific food groups (food categories in the current WIC food package), what share of the specified food group comes from purchases made with the WIC benefit?
The WIC foods will be identified based on (a) an acquisition “event,” including a WIC payment and (b) by food code description (through the Information Resources Incorporated food item classification variables). Identification and classification of foods and food group acquisitions and purchases will be done in phase II as feasible based on available food codes.
Household or Individual Subgroups to Be Examined
- Households receiving WIC benefits (i.e., those who report receiving WIC) or making a purchase with a WIC voucher
- Non WIC, income less than or equal to 185 percent poverty
- Non WIC, income greater than or equal to 185 percent poverty
Sample Weights and Procedures
All descriptive tables and bivariate comparisons use sample weights and procedures that account for the complex sample design used for National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) data.
For the phase I analysis of food expenditures and expenditures using WIC vouchers, data were developed and presented in bivariate tables and include mean and standard errors of food expenditures in total, food at home, food away from home, percentage of households reporting WIC food expenditure/redemption in a week, value of WIC benefits used in a week, and share of the total week’s expenditures that comes from WIC benefits (for WIC households). For phase II, redemption of WIC, additional analysis will analyze expenditures by food groups purchased and acquired by WIC households and the other comparison groups. The phase 1 analyses will also compare demographic and food security information on the WIC and non-WIC groups. Demographic groups considered include households with infants and young children (less than 5 years old) and those with a pregnant woman.
USDA/ERS (U.S. Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service). 2015. FoodAPS National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey. Washington, DC: USDA/ERS. http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/foodaps-national-household-food-acquisitionand-purchase-survey.aspx (accessed August 26, 2015).