Media Contact:

Jordan Baker                                                                       jbaker@frac.org202-640-1118

Statement attributable to Kelly Horton, Chief Program Officer, Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2024 — FRAC applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its final rule revising the food package for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The updated food package will have a longstanding positive impact on program participation, health outcomes for WIC participants, and addressing health disparities.

WIC plays an important role in ensuring children receive the nutrition they need for a healthy start in life. As one of the nation’s largest federal nutrition programs, it provides healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding counseling and support, and health care and social service referrals to more than 6.6 million women and young children, including nearly half of all infants born in the U.S.

The rule announced by USDA marks a critical step toward equitable access to nutritious food by improving the nutritional quality of the foods offered, making WIC more client-centered, and increasing the value of the program’s food package.

Of the most notable updates to the WIC food package is the permanent increase in the value of the fruit and vegetable benefit. During the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress took action by passing a provision in the American Rescue Plan to temporarily expand fruit and vegetable benefits for WIC-participating mothers and children. FRAC has advocated for lawmakers and the administration to continue building on the lessons learned from the pandemic, and today, we are thrilled to see USDA’s decision come to fruition. The new rule increases children’s benefit from $9 to $25 monthly, and for pregnant and postpartum participants, the benefit rises from $12 to $44–$49 per month.

Additional updates to the food package:

  • increases access to whole grains in breakfast cereal, bread, and grains, and reduce the amount of sugar in yogurt and milks consistent with the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans,
  • maximizes food choice to reflect dietary guidance and accommodate cultural and individual preferences, including traditional foodways, allergies, and vegetarian eating patterns, and
  • increases the allowable range of food package sizes to improve the ease of shopping to help reduce disparities in program delivery.

The updated food package builds on the White House’s “National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health” to strengthen WIC and improve the customer experience. Research shows that participation in WIC is tied to a number of health benefits, including healthier pregnancies, increased access to health care services, reduced food insecurity, and improved overall child development and well-being. Studies also show that WIC improves food and economic security of participants by reducing food insecurity, helping to alleviate poverty, and supporting economic stability. WIC also injects much-needed funds into communities’ food economy.

WIC has played an essential role in helping children grow up healthy and ensuring mothers get the support they need before, during, and after pregnancy. This new rule, combined with the recent full funding for WIC in the 2024 fiscal year appropriations package, sets the stage for essential progress in supporting the health and well-being of more families.

FRAC thanks its nationwide network of allies and national partners, and people with lived experience, for providing input on the package when proposed, and looks forward to working with states as they implement this new rule over the next year.


The Food Research & Action Center improves the nutrition, health, and well-being of people struggling against poverty-related hunger in the United States through advocacy, partnerships, and by advancing bold and equitable policy solutions. To learn more, visit and follow us on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, and Instagram.