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Relative prices, consumer preferences, and the demand for food


  • Rachel Griffith
  • Martin O’Connell
  • Kate Smith


Shocks to world commodity prices and the depreciation of sterling led to a large increase in the price of food in the UK. It also resulted in large changes in the relative prices of different foods. We document these changes, and consider how they affected the composition of households’ shopping baskets. We isolate the impact of changes in relative food prices from variation in preferences using data on purchasing decisions made by a representative panel of British households. We show that changes in relative food prices led to a worsening in the nutritional quality of households’ shopping baskets, though this was partially mitigated by offsetting changes in preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Rachel Griffith & Martin O’Connell & Kate Smith, 2015. "Relative prices, consumer preferences, and the demand for food," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(1), pages 116-130.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:31:y:2015:i:1:p:116-130.

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    Cited by:

    1. Dragone, D. & Ziebarth, N.R., 2015. "Non-Separable Time Preferences and Novelty Consumption: Theory and Evidence from the East German Transition to Capitalism," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/28, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    2. Kaicker, Nidhi & Gupta, Aashi & Gaiha, Raghav, 2022. "Covid-19 pandemic and food security in India: Can authorities alleviate the disproportionate burden on the disadvantaged?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 44(5), pages 963-980.
    3. Griffith, Rachel & O'Connell, Martin & Smith, Kate, 2014. "Shopping around? How households adjusted food spending over the Great Recession," CEPR Discussion Papers 10096, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Jibonayan Raychaudhuri & Ada Wossink, 2018. "Ecolabels and The Economic Recession," Economics Discussion Paper Series 1807, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    5. Dragone, Davide & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2017. "Non-separable time preferences, novelty consumption and body weight: Theory and evidence from the East German transition to capitalism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 41-65.
    6. Ming Luo & GuoHua Zhou & Hao Xu, 2022. "Three-tier supply chain on temperature control for fresh agricultural products using new differential game model under two decision-making situations," Operations Management Research, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 1028-1047, December.

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