WIC specialized A50 stores most prevalent in California, Puerto Rico, Texas in 2018
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is USDA’s third-largest food assistance program. Most stores authorized to accept WIC food benefits are typical food retailers, for which WIC redemptions comprise a small share of total food sales. Only 10 of the 90 WIC State agencies in 2018 authorized “above-50-percent” (A50) stores, which derive more than 50 percent of their food sales from WIC redemptions. A50 stores can offer advantages for WIC participants over typical food retailers by making WIC-approved products easy to find and emphasizing convenient checkout with cashiers who are familiar with handling WIC transactions. In 2018, 973 A50 stores operated in the United States and U.S. territories. These stores represented 2.2 percent of stores that accept WIC benefits nationwide but accounted for 10.6 percent of national WIC redemptions. States and U.S. territories with relatively high numbers of A50 stores in 2018 included California (493 stores), Puerto Rico (276 stores), and Texas (103 stores). A50 stores accounted for 78.9 percent of Puerto Rico’s WIC redemptions in 2018, compared with 42.6 percent of WIC redemptions in California and 21.5 percent in Texas. This chart appears in the Economic Research Service’s Amber Waves article, “Specialized Stores Serving Participants in USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Can Reduce Program Food Costs and Increase Food Store Access,” March 2021.
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