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WIC and the Retail Price of Infant Formula

by Victor Oliveira, Mark Prell, David Smallwood, and Elizabeth Frazão

Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Report No. (FANRR-39-1) 106 pp, June 2004

cover image Rebates from infant formula manufacturers to State agencies that administer the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) support over one-quarter of all WIC participants. However, concerns have been raised that WIC and its infant formula rebate program may significantly affect the infant formula prices faced by non-WIC consumers. This report presents findings from the most comprehensive national study of infant formula prices at the retail level. For a given set of wholesale prices, WIC and its infant formula rebate program resulted in modest increases in the supermarket price of infant formula, especially in States with a high percentage of WIC formula-fed infants. However, lower priced infant formulas are available to non-WIC consumers in most areas of the country, and the number of these lower priced alternatives is increasing over time.

Keywords: WIC program, cost-containment, food-item restrictions, vendor restrictions, manufacturers rebates, food package costs, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, child nutrition, FANRP, food assistance

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See also: An Economic Model of WIC, the Infant Formula Rebate Program, and the Retail Price of Infant Formula.

Last updated: Tuesday, June 12, 2012

For more information contact: Victor Oliveira, Mark Prell, David Smallwood, and Elizabeth Frazão