How Modernized, Scalable Tech Platforms Helped WIC Programs Pivot During the Formula Shortage

How Modernized, Scalable Tech Platforms Helped WIC Programs Pivot During the Formula Shortage

The formula shortage earlier this year affected parents and infants nationwide – including the millions of families who rely on Women, Infant, and Children’s (WIC) nutrition program. WIC serves more than 40% of infants in the US and accounts for more than half of formula consumption. Since many state WIC programs contracted with Abbott as their primary supplier, the Abbott recall impacted some WIC programs more than others, but all WIC programs were affected by the supply chain issues that have been pervasive since the beginning of the year.

In response to the shortage, the Biden administration authorized use of the Defense Production Act to increase the formula supply, which included measures that allowed WIC programs to renegotiate their contracts with suppliers and expand the range of formulas available to WIC participants.

However, increasing the number of brands that WIC participants could purchase required WIC programs to make significant updates to their enterprise systems and the mobile apps used by participants. If these changes weren’t made properly and quickly, WIC beneficiaries could run into issues at the grocery store when buying the formulas with their benefits, adding another layer of stress to an already difficult situation.

Voyatek’s 3Sigma WIC team serves WIC customers in 13 states, 1 territory, and 10 tribal nations. Our solution supports 3 million WIC beneficiaries nationwide, nearly half of all WIC participants. Every one of our teams stepped up to support our customers to expand the types of formulas available for their participants on very quick timelines.

Voyatek 3Sigma WIC Nutrition Formula Response

WIC serves more than 40% of infants in the US and accounts for more than half of formula consumption.

We rapidly modified the WIC systems to include the new formula brands, pushed out these changes to the EBT processors, and conducted rigorous testing to verify that WIC participants would be able to purchase the formulas with their benefits.

Additionally, our team took extra measures to ensure that participants were able to purchase the amount of formula that their infants needed. Previously, all approved WIC formulas were sold in a single size, but the brand expansion meant adding in cans of various sizes. We modified the technology accordingly to ensure that participants were still able to buy the amount of formula they needed, regardless of unit size, and weren’t being over-debited.

Finally, we used push notifications to notify WIC participants who use our mobile app that their formula options were now expanded and that they could begin purchasing the new brands right away.

Voyatek WIC App

Thanks to the work of the 3Sigma WIC team and our WIC partners, families can purchase the formula they need without returning to the WIC clinic or taking any extra steps.