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Who Eats What, When, And From Where?


  • Carlson, Andrea
  • Kinsey, Jean D.
  • Nadav, Carmel


The popular impression that over half of our food does not come from a retail food (grocery) store is based on food expenditure data and is misleading. This research set out to learn where people obtain the food they report eating and to determine whether there are significant differences between people who buy most of their food from retail food stores and those who do not. Research on food consumption often focuses on household expenditures at retail food stores and various types of restaurants, but tracking the volume of various types of foods purchased from various retail places is not well established. The Continuing Survey of Food Intake of Individuals survey for 1994 showed that 72 percent of the volume of food consumed was from retail food stores. Age had the largest impact on where people shopped, and when and how many meals they ate. Income and household composition had relatively little impact. Cluster analysis grouped consumers based on where they obtained their food. The largest cluster, nearly half of the individuals, were labeled the Home Cookers. They obtained 93 percent of their food from stores and account for 59 percent of food sold from retail food stores. The High Service cluster is only 10 percent of the sample, but they consumed 50 percent of the food sold in restaurants and only 6 percent of food sold by grocers. Looking at the diets of people in the various clusters reveal that those in the Fast Food clusters ate less fat than the average of the sample while High Service (restaurant) users ate more fat. Home Cookers ate less than the average amount of meat, eggs, and vegetables.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlson, Andrea & Kinsey, Jean D. & Nadav, Carmel, 1998. "Who Eats What, When, And From Where?," Working Papers 14312, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:umrfwp:14312
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.14312

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Larson, Ronald B., 1998. "The Home Meal Replacement Opportunity: A Marketing Perspective," Working Papers 14310, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
    2. Morgan, Karen J., 1986. "Socioeconomic Factors Affecting Dietary Status: An Appraisal'," 1986 Annual Meeting, July 27-30, Reno, Nevada 278063, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    3. J. Hartigan, 1985. "Statistical theory in clustering," Journal of Classification, Springer;The Classification Society, vol. 2(1), pages 63-76, December.
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    1. Huffman, Wallace & Rousu, M. & Shogren, Jason F. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 1009. "Are U.S. Consumers Tolerant of GM Foods?," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12336, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    2. Huffman, Wallace E. & Rousu, Matthew & Shogren, Jason F. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2007. "The effects of prior beliefs and learning on consumers' acceptance of genetically modified foods," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 193-206, May.
    3. Senauer, Benjamin, 2001. "The Food Consumer In The 21st Century: New Research Perspectives," Working Papers 14346, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
    4. Davies, Terry & Konisky, David M., 2000. "Environmental Implications of the Foodservice and Food Retail Industries," Discussion Papers 10761, Resources for the Future.
    5. Huffman, Wallace E. & Shogren, Jason F. & Rousu, Matthew C. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2003. "Consumer Willingness to Pay for Genetically Modified Food Labels in a Market with Diverse Information: Evidence from Experimental Auctions," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 28(3), pages 1-22, December.
    6. Matthew Rousu & Wallace E. Huffman & Jason F. Shogren & Abebayehu Tegene, 2007. "Effects And Value Of Verifiable Information In A Controversial Market: Evidence From Lab Auctions Of Genetically Modified Food," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 45(3), pages 409-432, July.
    7. Carlson, Andrea & Lino, Mark & Fungwe, Thomas V. & Guenther, Patricia M., 2009. "Eating a Healthy Diet: Is Cost a Major Factor?," 2009 Annual Meeting, July 26-28, 2009, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 49259, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    8. Mark Drabenstott & Alan Barkema & Nancy Novack, 2001. "The new U.S. meat industry," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue qii, pages 33-56.
    9. Matthew Rousu & Wallace E. Huffman & Jason F. Shogren & Abebayehu Tegene, 2004. "Are United States Consumers Tolerant of Genetically Modified Foods?," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 26(1), pages 19-31.
    10. Mangaraj, Sandeep & Senauer, Benjamin, 2001. "A Segmentation Analysis Of U.S. Grocery Store Shoppers," Working Papers 14328, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
    11. Huffman, Wallace E. & Rousu, Matthew C. & Shogren, Jason F. & Tegene, Abebayehu, 2002. "Should The United States Regulate Mandatory Labeling For Genetically Modified Foods?," Working Papers 18215, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    12. Kinsey, Jean & Bowland, Bradley, 1999. "How can the US food system deliver food products consistent with the dietary guidelines?: Food marketing and retailing: an economist's view," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(2-3), pages 237-253, May.
    13. Kinsey, Jean D. & Wolfson, Paul J. & Katsaras, Nikolaos & Senauer, Benjamin, 2001. "Data Mining: A Segmentation Analysis Of U.S. Grocery Shoppers," Working Papers 14335, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.


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