LOW-INCOME CALIFORNIA FOOD-SHOPPING HABITS: A STUDY BASED ON HISPANIC WIC PARTICIPANTS SURVEYS
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AbstractA shopping-habits survey was completed at selected California WIC clinic sites. Although the survey was given to WIC program participants from all racial or ethnic groups, tests revealed that a representative sample was obtained only from members of the Hispanic population, who make up the largest ethnic group served by the California WIC Program. Consequently, the study presented herein is restricted to the shopping habits of Hispanic California WIC Program participants. This study identified the specific brand preferences of the WIC population for the cereals and juices offered by the California WIC Program and to find out if families with two or more people on WIC would be able to handle buying larger quantities of the same food in one shopping trip, thus allowing the program to issue fewer food instruments for the same quantity of food and decrease the number of transactions at the grocery store. An attempt was also made to assess the utilization of farmers' market coupons. The characteristics included in this study were family income, language preference, household size, and head-of-household education level. Results of this survey indicate capacities to obtain larger quantities of food on one shopping trip; clear preferences for specific brands of plastic-bottled, shelf-stable juices over frozen juices; and preferences for specific cereal brands and types. Additionally, the survey results suggest that pre-sliced processed American cheese may be an acceptable alternative to cheese in block form. These observations, together with reasons given for limited use of farmer s' market assistance, suggest the possible presence of time-utility trade-offs in low-income California Hispanic shopping plans.