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Exploring Food Purchase Behavior of Low-Income Households: How Do They Economize?

Author

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  • Leibtag, Ephraim S.
  • Kaufman, Phillip R.

Abstract

This report compares food purchases by U.S. households of different income levels and finds that low-income shoppers spend less on food purchases despite some evidence that they face generally higher purchase prices. Households can economize on food spending by purchasing more discounted products, favoring private-label (generic) products over brand, pursuing volume discounts, or settling for a less expensive product (for example, less lean beef within a product class. A 1998 sample of food store purchase data shows that low-income households adhere to these practices when possible, but that the typically smaller size of food stores in urban and rural locations may sometimes preclude them from doing so.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uersab:33711
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.33711
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/33711/files/ai047477.pdf
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rachel Griffith & Martin O'Connell & Kate Smith, 2016. "Shopping Around: How Households Adjusted Food Spending Over the Great Recession," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 83(330), pages 247-280, April.
    2. Rodrigo M. Leifert & Claudio R. Lucinda, 2015. "Linear Symmetric "Fat Taxes": Evidence from Brazil," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 37(4), pages 634-666.
    3. Monsivais, Pablo & Mclain, Julia & Drewnowski, Adam, 2010. "The rising disparity in the price of healthful foods: 2004-2008," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 514-520, December.
    4. Jones, Eugene, 2008. "Price-Quality Tradeoffs in the Selection of Fresh Fruit: A Look at Apples," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6433, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    5. Mark C. Senia & Helen H. Jensen & Oleksandr Zhylyevskyy, 2017. "Time in eating and food preparation among single adults," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 399-432, June.
    6. Dong, Diansheng & Stewart, Hayden, 2013. "Households' Choices Among Fluid Milk Products: What Happens When Income and Prices Change?," Economic Research Report 262226, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    7. Blisard, Noel & Stewart, Hayden & Jolliffe, Dean, 2004. "Low-Income Households' Expenditures on Fruits and Vegetables," Agricultural Information Bulletins 33755, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    8. Blisard, Noel & Stewart, Hayden, 2006. "How Low-Income Households Allocate Their Food Budget Relative to the Cost of the Thrifty Food Plan," Economic Research Report 7239, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    9. Volpe III, Rickard James, 2014. "National Brands, Private Labels, and Food Price Inflation," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 46(4), pages 1-16, November.
    10. Christian Broda & Ephraim Leibtag & David E. Weinstein, 2009. "The Role of Prices in Measuring the Poor's Living Standards," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 77-97, Spring.
    11. Wendt, Minh & Kinsey, Jean D. & Kaufman, Phillip R., 2008. "Food Accessibility in the Inner City: What Have We Learned, A Literature Review 1963-2006," Working Papers 37625, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
    12. Leibtag, Ephraim S., 2006. "The Impact of Nontraditional Retailers on Retail Dairy Prices and the Dairy CPI," 2006 Annual meeting, July 23-26, Long Beach, CA 21294, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    13. Lee, Helen, 2012. "The role of local food availability in explaining obesity risk among young school-aged children," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(8), pages 1193-1203.
    14. Cleary, Rebecca & Bonanno, Alessandro & Chenarides, Lauren & Goetz, Stephan J., 2018. "Store profitability and public policies to improve food access in non-metro U.S. counties," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 158-170.
    15. Tegegne, Fisseha & Godwin, Sandria L. & Speller-Henderson, Leslie & Dirkson, Margo, 2005. "Food-Security Status and Food-Purchase Decisions of Low-Income Households in Tennessee," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 36(1), pages 1-5, March.
    16. Chenarides, Lauren & Jaenicke, Edward C., 2016. "Store Choice and Consumer Behavior in Food Deserts: An Empirical Application of the Distance Metric Method," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235925, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    17. Stewart, Hayden & Blisard, Noel, 2006. "The Thrifty Food Plan and low-income households in the United States: What food groups are being neglected?," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 469-482, October.
    18. Chenarides, Lauren & Jaenicke, Edward C. & Li, Jing, 2017. "Welfare Impacts from Store Attribute-Based Policy Interventions in an Urban Setting: An Application to Philadelphia," 2017 Annual Meeting, July 30-August 1, Chicago, Illinois 258270, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    19. Secor, William & Çakır, Metin, 2016. "Impacts from a retail grocery acquisition: Do national and store brand prices respond differently?," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 235945, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    20. Bonanno, Alessandro & Chenarides, Lauren & Goetz, Stephan J., 2012. "Limited Food Access as an Equilibrium Outcome: An Empirical Analysis," 2012 AAEA/EAAE Food Environment Symposium 123196, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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