Information for Grocers

eWIC_Grocer_with_Customer

Vermont WIC uses an electronic benefits transfer system, referred to as eWIC, to deliver healthy food to enrolled families. Participants use their Vermont WIC card to buy the WIC food items prescribed to them at authorized grocery stores statewide.

Authorized grocers are very important WIC partners because they stock WIC foods that support infants, children and pregnant women to become healthier; provide convenient access to healthy foods; and, help assure the integrity of the WIC program.

To become an eWIC Grocer, you must:

  1. Review WIC's  Grocer Authorization Standards
  2. Review Vermont WIC’s Approved Product List (APL), applicable Minimum Inventory checklist and UPC data base.
  3. Review eWIC Technical requirements.
  4. Request a link to on-line application.
  5. Complete a Price Survey 2016
  6. Attend Grocer Training: All grocers must attend mandatory training before initial authorization. Authorized grocers must attend at least one mandatory interactive training session during their period of authorization. All grocer training is designed to prevent program errors and noncompliance, and to improve program service. The state agency will also schedule and require corrective action training for grocers who are not meeting program requirements on an as needed basis.
  7. Participate in a site visit.
  8. Review and sign the Retail Vendor Agreement.
What are the criteria for becoming a WIC grocer?

In order to be authorized as a WIC retail vendor in Vermont, grocers must satisfy these selection criteria:

  1. You/your store has the ability to maintain adequate stock of WIC approved food items year around. Specifically, you must stock at least the minimum variety and quantity of foods indicated by your store type/size.  
  2. You/your store currently participates in, and is not disqualified from or has not been assessed a civil money penalty by, 3SquaresVT/SNAP.
  3. You/your store meets competitive price requirements throughout the authorization period.
  4. A need exists for a WIC authorized grocer in the area where the store is located to assure participant access to the WIC food benefit.
  5. There is no conflict of interest between store ownership and management and WIC state or local agency staff.
  6. The store must be in a permanent location, and be open a minimum of 8 hours per day, 6 days per week.
  7. You/your store carries a full line or “market basket” of standard grocery items such as: dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables, dry staples (dry cereal, bread, brown rice, beans) and at least two varieties of fresh, frozen, or canned meat and/or fish.
  8. You/your store has no serious SNAP violations.
  9. You/your store has no serious WIC vendor violations in Vermont or any other state.
  10. Your store successfully completes on-site inspection requirements, including a review of the sanitary conditions of the store.
  11. None of the current owners, officers, or managers has been convicted of or has had a civil judgment during the last 6 years for the following: 
  • fraud, antitrust violations, embezzlement, or theft
  • forgery, bribery, falsification, or destruction of records
  • making false statements, receiving stolen property
  • making false claims, or obstruction of justice
Vermont WIC’s Approved Product List, Minimum Inventory Requirements and UPC data base
Technical Requirements

eWIC at the Point of Sale/Check Stand

As an eWIC grocer you may choose to integrate the Vermont WIC approved products into your existing systems, or obtain a stand beside terminal for processing eWIC transactions (download the Xerox Retailer Guide for stand beside terminals for details). Xerox, Vermont's eWIC vendor, is currently working with a number of third party processors and value added resellers to certify systems as Vermont eWIC ready.

What is the Application Process?

An owner of a retail grocery store may request an electronic or mailed Retail Vendor Application packet by contacting the WIC Grocer Manager in the WIC State Central Office at WIC@Vermont.gov or by calling 802-863-7333.

The packet will contain:

  • Retail Vendor FAQ
  • WIC Vendor Corporate Application
  • Selection Criteria for VT WIC Retail Vendors
  • Minimum Stocking Requirements
  • Price Survey
  • Retail Vendor Agreement

The owner or business representative must complete and submit all retail vendor application forms according to the included instructions. One corporate application must be completed by all applicants, and multi-store corporations must include information about each store location to be authorized. Vermont WIC requires the grocer’s SNAP authorization number on the WIC application form to ensure the vendor enrolled in the SNAP program.

When can I apply?

Vermont authorizes vendors for a three-year cycle, but does not currently limit the period when new applications will be accepted and processed.

How often do I have to reapply?

The standard grocer agreement is for a three-year cycle. Grocers who are authorized mid-cycle will receive a pro-rated agreement, so that all grocers will be on the same agreement cycle.

What happens after I submit an application?

Any grocer who is new to WIC will have an onsite visit by WIC staff prior to authorization. Stores that are re-applying and that have had an onsite visit in the previous three years will have an onsite visit within three years of the prior onsite visit. However, if the state is imposing new requirements on vendors in conjunction with the authorization cycle, all stores will have site visits as necessary to confirm compliance.

Participate in a Preauthorization Site Visit

Upon determination by WIC staff that the application is complete and the applicant satisfies selection criteria, WIC staff will arrange for a preauthorization site visit by a WIC staff representative. This assessment is not a health or safety inspection; it is an assessment of whether the store meets WIC criteria.

The site visit will consist of a review of:

  • Handicap accessibility
  • Minimum inventory requirements
  • Minimum variety requirements
  • Full service grocery status
  • Sanitary and safety conditions, general appearance
  • Store staff knowledge of the contents of the Vermont WIC Vendor Manual

The WIC staff representative will complete a preauthorization site visit checklist. A representative of the applicant retail vendor must sign the checklist where indicated, and will receive a copy of the completed, signed checklist. The completed, signed checklist will become part of the application.

How does WIC decide if my store is eligible to be a WIC grocer?

WIC central office staff will objectively apply the selection criteria to each vendor applicant. Only applicants meeting all of the selection and limitation criteria will be selected as eligible WIC authorized vendors. The determination of eligibility is not subject to appeal.

Review and sign the Retail Vendor Agreement 

The Retail Vendor Agreement will be mailed to you for signature after the application process has been completed.

Attend Grocer Training

All grocers must attend mandatory training before initial authorization. Authorized grocers must attend at least one mandatory interactive training session during their period of authorization. All grocer training is designed to prevent program errors and noncompliance, and to improve program service. The state agency will also schedule and require corrective action training for grocers who are not meeting program requirements on an as needed basis.

Materials for Grocers
  • VT WIC Grocer Handbook Describes programs rules, operations and requirements, including monitoring, sanctions and penalties.
  • View or download the VT WIC Program and Food Guide as a reference for staff training, or order print copies from WIC.
  • Shelf tags (order only) email WIC at WIC@Vermont.gov. If you want to develop and use your own shelf signs, you must first obtain permission from the state office. Email WIC at WIC@Vermont.gov with your request and attach a copy of your draft materials.
Product Submission for Food Manufacturers

Thank you for choosing to submit your product to the Vermont WIC Program for consideration. We select foods for inclusion in the Vermont Food Guide based on federal regulations, statewide availability, packaging and cost. Not all food submissions will be approved.

Vermont provides food benefits via Electronic Benefits Transfer (eWIC). All eligible products require a UPC code, with the exception of all fresh fruits and vegetables. All allowed fresh fruits and vegetables must be mapped to the PLU 4469 regardless of their individual UPC or PLU.

If you wish to be on Vermont WIC’s email distribution list please call or email us:

Vermont WIC Program
Phone: 802-863-7333
800-649-4357 (in Vermont)
WIC@Vermont.gov  Attn: Jackie

Product Submission Instructions

Foods currently on Vermont WIC's approved food list do not need to be resubmitted.

Submission Timeline

  • For Brand Specific food categories, please submit your product for consideration between December 1st and March 31st for inclusion beginning October 1st.   
  • For Non-Brand Specific foods that meet Vermont WIC standards, please submit at any time for immediate inclusion in our UPC database

Categories

Categories in the Vermont WIC Food Guide are either Brand Specific or Non-Brand Specific:

  • Brand Specific Foods – These products are identified by brand in the WIC Program and Food Guide . Current Brand Specific Food categories include Cheese, Tofu, Soymilk Beverage, Yogurt, Peanut Butter, Whole Grain Bread, Whole Wheat Pasta, Whole Wheat Tortillas, Breakfast Cereal (cold and hot), Juice, and Infant Foods.
  • Non-brand Specific Foods – These products are not specified by brand in the Vermont WIC Program and Food Guide but are considered ‘Any Brand Allowed.’ Current non-brand specific food categories include: Milk, Eggs, Beans, Canned Fish (Chunk Light Tuna, Sardines and Salmon) and Brown Rice. Manufacturers may submit products that meet eligibility requirements as they become available. Please email Jackie Charnley, and include the information that is requested in the Vermont Food Product Submissions spreadsheet .

Submission Requirements

Prior to submission, please verify that your products meet requirements set forth by USDA:

Prior to submission, please verify that your product(s) meet Vermont eligibility requirements:

Notes: It is the responsibility of the submitter to notify the Vermont WIC Program of all changes and the effective date of each change to a product included in the Vermont Food Guide and in our UPC database, including, but not limited to, UPC, package design, container size, ingredients, and/or discontinuance of a product or eligible size.

If you have any questions or for more information, contact WIC@Vermont.gov

eWIC - Not a WIC Food But Should Be?

If you find a food item that, according to the Vermont Food Guide, should be allowed, but the UPC does not debit from a WIC account, send us an update request. We may have missed a UPC so the product is not scanning properly.

Here’s what you can do:

Send an email to WIC@Vermont.gov and include the following information:

  • Product name
  • Package size
  •  Price
  • UPC number from the bar code - give all 12 numbers, including the little ones at the beginning and end.

                                          

 

List of Authorized Grocers

For a complete list of Authorized Grocers, visit Shopping with eWIC and click on "Where to Shop".