Eat at home, stock up and cut back

Rising food costs and the week economy are chief concerns of women, according to a Food Factor survey of more than 2,100 women, conducted by Better Homes and Gardens, and they are changing their behavior as a result. On average, women spend $105 per week on groceries - $34 more than they did two years ago. As a result, 84 percent have changed their buying habits, 83 percent have cut back/limited food purchases, and 70 percent have switched stores.

The vast majority (95 percent) are “very/somewhat concerned” about the cost of food today, and as a result of the increase in food prices, 71 percent are stocking up on bargains; 66 percent are eating out less often; and 63 percent are comparing food prices at the same store more carefully.
 
“If there is one universal concern we found in the study, it is related to rising food costs,” says Editor-in-Chief Gayle Butler. “With the American women’s average grocery bill nearly 50 percent 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.” 
 
When selecting a brand of food to buy, 79 percent indicated “value for the money” as an important factor, followed by past experience/familiarity with the brand (62 percent) and consistent quality (51 percent). Roughly 8 in 10 women (83 percent) try to save money by preparing meals regularly and say that the cost of food is affecting the meals they cook (77 percent) and 64 percent are more concerned about wasting food than they were two years ago.

To economize, 54 percent freeze foods and cook in batches (21 percent). They are also cutting back on certain foods including baked goods and desserts (52 percent), convenience foods (48 percent), wine/alcohol (37 percent) and gourmet oils (36 percent). In addition, 56 percent are buying more store-brand/private label brand foods for their cost/value (94 percent), improved quality (48 percent), greater trust in the quality (32 percent) and wider variety (30 percent). And 33 percent buy a new food because they have a coupon for it, 28 percent had a store sample and 25 percent want to experiment/taste. Other motivators were that the items were budget-friendly (23 percent) or recommended by a friend/relative (20 percent).