Helping low-income families discover, access and enjoy healthy foods

Kellogg enhancements to WIC app awarded first American Heart Association Foodscape InnovationTM Award

Helping low-income families access and enjoy healthy food

Many of our best ideas come from our employees, which is why Kellogg North America holds its annual Tiger Tank competition. Employees submit game-changing business ideas and winners receive initial funding of up to USD$150,000, plus time away from regular work responsibilities to prove the viability of their ideas.

One of these successful Tiger Tank ideas – the WICShopper® mobile app update – is making a difference in how low-income families access and enjoy nutritious foods. It’s also one of the many ways Kellogg is delivering on its Kellogg’s® Better Days commitment to create Better Days for 3 billion people by the end of 2030. Contributing to this ambitious goal are our efforts to provide wellbeing education to inform people’s food choices.

The U.S. Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides those at-risk with free healthy foods, nutrition education and health care referrals. To qualify, families must have an annual income of at least 185% below the federal poverty level. Yet, many food benefits go unused.

To connect those eligible with their full WIC benefits, Kellogg nutrition team member Melanie Hall, Senior Wellbeing and Regulatory Lead, sought Tiger Tank financing to boost redemption rates by improving the WICShopper app that was already being used in nine states. She teamed up with the app developer, JPMA, Inc., and WIC staff to enhance the app to be even more useful to WIC recipients by:

  • Alerting users to unredeemed food benefits;

  • Featuring new recipes, customized for these foods not yet redeemed; and,

  • Providing additional information on the health benefits of these foods.

The new-and-improved app features came to life through new photography, new recipes and content aimed at making the healthy choices provided by WIC more appealing.

And it worked. People using the app reported using more WIC foods and there was a measurable increase of all WIC food purchases in the states were the team was able to review data. As a result of the partnership and success of this project, the enhanced WICShopper app received the American Heart Association’s inaugural Foodscape Innovation Excellence Award from judges with expertise in nutrition, food science, environmental sciences, retail, food manufacturing and public health. Consumers also voted to select it as the Foodscape Innovation Consumer Choice Award.

 

The American Heart Association launched the Foodscape Innovation Awards as a way to highlight the value of voluntary change by the food industry in support of public health. To learn more, visit www.heart.org/foodinnovationawards.