Rising Costs Cause Women to Stockpile Food, Eat in More

April 8, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | CPG & FMCG | Retail & E-Commerce | Women

An overwhelming majority (95%) of US women are concerned about the cost of food today and are taking measures both in their kitchens and in stores to ensure they are economizing during the recession, according to a study from Better Homes and Gardens.

The study, entitled “The Food Factor: How America Cooks, Eats and Shops” highlights findings from a survey of more than 2,100 women nationwide, and provides a comprehensive look at women’s behaviors, motivations, attitudes relating to food. It finds that high food prices are a “universal” concern among women, who are using a variety of strategies to make sure they are receiving the best value for their money.

Stocking Up and Eating In

In terms of top behaviors being taken to protect themselves against these rising prices and the bad economy, the study found that 71% of women are stocking up on bargains, 66% are eating out less often and 63% are comparing prices at the same stores more carefully, writes Retailer Daily.

Changing Buying Habits

Moreover, women now spend an average $105/week on groceries – $34 more than they did two years ago. As a result, 84% have changed their buying habits, 83% have cut back/limited food purchases, and 70% have switched stores.

Additional findings from the survey:

  • When selecting a brand of food to buy, 79% of women indicate “value for the money” as an important factor, followed by past experience/familiarity with the brand (62%) and consistent quality (51%).
  • Roughly 8 in 10 women (83%) try to save money by preparing meals regularly and say that the cost of food is affecting the meals they cook (77%).
  • Approximately 3 out of 4 women are eating at home primarily to cut back on spending (76%) and restaurant expenses (73%).
  • 60% of women are still shopping each week at their regular supermarket, followed by superstores/supercenters (20%) and discount supermarkets (10%).


  • In deciding where to shop, product choice/selection and physical store attributes (79%) have a great deal of influence. For 68% of women, store services/programs are also important.
  • To economize, most women (54%) freeze foods and cook in batches (21%). They are also cutting back on certain foods including baked goods and desserts (52%), convenience foods (48%), wine/alcohol (37%) and gourmet oils (36%).
  • 56% of all women are buying more store-brand/private label brand foods for their cost/value (94%), improved quality (48%), greater trust in the quality (32%) and wider variety (30%).


  • 33% of women report buying a new food because they have a coupon for it. 28% had a store sample and 25% wanted to experiment/taste. Other motivators were that the items were budget-friendly (23%) or recommended by a friend/relative (20%).
  • 64% of women are more concerned about wasting food than they were two years ago.

“With? American woman’s average grocery bill nearly 50% higher than two years ago, the downturn in the economy has had a direct – and immediate – impact on how she puts dinner on the table,” said Gayle Butler, editor-in-chief, Better Homes and Gardens.

About the survey: “The Food Factor: How America Cooks, Eats and Shops” is an online survey sent to BHG readers and a national sample of women 18+. Fieldwork took place July 30 – August 1, 2008. The survey results are based on 2,151 respondents.

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