New Consumer Food Insights report sheds light on spending trends

The Consumer Food Insights Report, a new monthly report identifying trends and changes in consumer food purchases and preferences, has been released.

Purdue’s Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability survey-based report assesses food security and spending, consumer satisfaction and values, support for agriculture and food policies, and trust in food sources. ‘information.

Purdue experts conducted and evaluated the first survey, which included 1,200 consumers across the United States, in January.

Key results include:

  • 25% of respondents could not find a specific food item at the grocery store.
  • 32% of respondents are waiting for their next paycheck to shop.
  • 16% of respondents face food insecurity.
  • 51% of respondents attribute the COVID-related shutdowns to the rise in meat prices.
  • A sustainable food purchasing index of 67/100.

“We take the pulse of consumers to help guide farmers and retailers through the food supply chain as we all adapt to changing circumstances,” said Jayson Lusk, director and distinguished professor of agricultural economics. to Purdue, which runs the center. “Consumers significantly influence the direction of food and agricultural systems, and we need a quick way to track trends in what people are buying and eating, and how that is affected by events such as the inflation, climate change and COVID-19.”

Purdue Agricultural Communications/Tom Campbell

Jayson Lusk, Distinguished Professor and Department Head of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University.

Sam Polzin, food and agriculture survey scientist for the center and co-author of the report, said the goal was to create a useful public resource.

“Informed decisions are a way to build a better and more sustainable food system,” he said. “We’re kind of democratizing food data that used to be constrained by resources and access.”

Large companies have the resources to conduct consumer surveys themselves, but the data is not shared; and some of the data is publicly available, but over longer time periods and in hard-to-understand government or academic reports, he said.

“We’re also covering new territory, like looking at sustainability as a factor in food shopping and establishing baselines in certain areas,” he said.

The Consumer Food Insights report includes a new Sustainable Food Shopping Index that offers insight into how sustainability and health relate to consumer behaviors. It is a self-reported assessment of how consumers’ shopping habits align with healthy diets from sustainable food systems.

“We’re looking at whether or not people buy foods that fit into different areas of sustainability,” Polzin said. “We want to gauge consumer interest in this, as well as track changes over time and in response to outside factors, like climate change-related events. The January report is our first, so this is of a reference. We will see what increases, decreases and remains stable over time.”

The Sustainable Food Purchase Index value for January is 67/100. The score reflects consumers’ food purchases that align with a set of key recommendations for healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The index includes six components that correlate with different strategies to achieve food system transformation: nutrition, environment, social, economic, safety and taste.

“For example, purchasing a diversity of foods that contain many different micro and macronutrients is essential to support nutritional health, but a family must also be able to purchase these foods within their budget,” said said Polzin. “Achieving the nutritional goals of a sustainable food system is pointless if the system does not also provide affordable options that meet our economic goals.”

The survey is flexible and has an “ad hoc” question section that can be adapted to current events. In January, the question was “Why are retail meat prices rising?” The results showed that 51% of consumers blamed the COVID-related shutdowns on the dramatic increase in meat prices, and less than 10% attributed the increase to concentration in the meatpacking sector. .

“Stock-outs also continue to affect consumers,” Lusk said. “About a quarter of respondents mentioned not finding certain items at the grocery store. The most frequently mentioned missing items were chicken, beef and dairy products.”

The report offers data that the team hopes will lead to new research, guide strategic pivots for growers and retailers, and inform policy makers, he said.

The Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability is part of Purdue’s Next Moves in Agriculture and Food Systems, and it aims to use innovative data analysis shared through user-friendly platforms to improve the food system. In addition to the Consumer Food Insights Report, the center offers a portfolio of online dashboards.

Source: Purdue University, solely responsible for the information provided and exclusive owner of the information. Informa Business Media and all of its affiliates are not responsible for any content contained in this information asset.

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