WIC program introduces self-checkout options

August 3, 2021

WIC program introduces self-checkout options

MOBILE, Ala. — Alabama families who receive benefits through the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program may start seeing self-checkout options available at their local authorized WIC store.

In 2019, Alabama WIC transitioned from paper to electronic benefits authorizing the purchase of WIC foods via an eWIC card. Alabama eWIC cards are loaded with specific foods prescribed for each family’s individual nutrition needs. Even with the conveniences of the eWIC card, 2020 brought its own set of challenges to the shopping experience. COVID-19 brought with it a transformation in how retailers began to sell their goods and services to customers at checkout. As a result, many shoppers began needing a way to complete WIC transactions via a self-checkout option.

Alabama’s WIC Program conducted a pilot with Walmart to test self-checkout register software and eWIC transaction approvals. The pilot was successful, and Walmart recently received approval to offer self-checkout options to WIC shoppers statewide. In addition, other WIC stores are expressing interest and may soon be approved to provide self-checkout once similar testing is completed.

A list of WIC stores approved to offer self-checkout is available on the WIC App and the WIC Program eWIC web page at https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/wic/ewic.html. WIC families are encouraged to check these resources to verify if their local grocery store offers a self-checkout option.

The hope is that the new self-checkout option will provide a smoother, more convenient shopping experience for WIC shoppers and an increased redemption of healthy food benefits for WIC families. For more information or to see if your family may qualify for WIC, please go to https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/wic/or call the statewide toll-free line at 1-888-942-4673.

The Mobile County Health Department’s Office of Nutrition Services manages the local WIC program. A monthly average of 11,791 participants received WIC food instruments during 2020. MCHD estimates $8,145,680.13 WIC food dollars were spent in Mobile County last year.

To qualify, a person must meet the income guidelines, be a resident of Alabama, and have been seen by a health professional at the WIC clinic. Options to apply remotely are currently available because of COVID-19. For more information, call 251-690-8829 or visit https://mchd.org/wic.