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How Low-Income Households Allocate Their Food Budget Relative to the Cost of the Thrifty Food Plan

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Author Info

  • Blisard, Noel
  • Stewart, Hayden

Abstract

By allocating their food budgets in accordance with USDA’s Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), which serves as a national standard for a low-cost nutritious diet, low-income U.S. households can meet recommended dietary guidelines. This study sought to determine whether selected types of low-income households allocate their food budgets in accordance with the TFP. In addition to expenditures for total food and food-at-home, the study looked at four large food-at-home categories: meats, cereals and bakery goods, fruits and vegetables, and dairy products. The analysis found that low-income households as a whole spent about 86 percent of the TFP costs for food at home. These households spent slightly over the TFP amount (102 percent) on cereals and bakery goods, but only 53 percent of the TFP costs on fruits and vegetables. Simulations for specific types of low-income households indicated that expenditures by female-headed households with children and married couples with children were least likely to equal the TFP expenditures.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/7239
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Economic Research Report with number 7239.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:7239

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Related research

Keywords: Thrifty Food Plan; low-income households; food consumption; food assistance programs; Consumer Expenditure Survey; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety;

References

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  1. Leibtag, Ephraim S. & Kaufman, Phillip R., 2003. "Exploring Food Purchase Behavior of Low-Income Households: How Do They Economize?," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33711, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  2. Breunig, Robert & Dasgupta, Indraneel & Gundersen, Craig & Pattanaik, Prasanta, 2001. "Explaining The Food Stamp Cash-Out Puzzle," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33869, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  3. Helen H. Jensen, 2002. "Food Insecurity and the Food Stamp Program," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1215-1228.
  4. Lin, Biing-Hwan & Frazao, Elizabeth & Guthrie, Joanne F., 1999. "Away-From-Home Foods Increasingly Important to Quality of American Diet," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33733, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  5. Nord, Mark & Andrews, Margaret S. & Carlson, Steven, 2004. "Household Food Security In The United States, 2003," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33835, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
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