The Plant Based Foods Association applauds the Department of Agriculture’s proposed rule to make revisions in WIC food packages that make plant-based milk and yogurts more readily available to WIC participants. WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, served about 6.2 million participants each month in fiscal year 2021, including an estimated 43 percent of all infants in the United States. This revision demonstrates significant strides in meeting the dietary, cultural, and personal needs of the WIC population.
“PBFA strongly supports these additions that take another step toward ensuring equitable access to healthy plant-based foods,” said Nicole Negowetti, Vice President of Policy and Food Systems.
Leading up to this announcement, PBFA suggested, based on recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), that soy-based yogurts and cheeses be added as milk substitution options. The proposed rule includes this recommendation, providing new variety and choice to participants.
As part of the proposed rule, USDA is requesting public comments on the availability of other plant-based beverages like oat or almond milk that meet the nutrient specifications of the WIC program. PBFA appreciates the Department’s recognition that the plant-based milk industry now makes up more than 16% of the total milk market and is the preference of many WIC participants. PBFA looks forward to demonstrating that a variety of plant-based milk options are excellent additions to the WIC program. Currently, only soy milk is available to WIC participants.
The full text of the proposed rule is here.