Americans Respond To Rising Food Costs With Strategic Buying

April 1, 2011
Americans Respond To Rising Food Costs With Strategic Buying

Rising costs of food are giving Americans sticker shock at the grocery store, and consumers are responding by getting crafty with their saving strategies.

Approximately 99 percent of U.S. adults are aware of rising food prices, and the vast majority (95 percent) plans to employ at least one savings strategy at the grocery store as a result, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive® and commissioned by

The survey found that incorporating coupons was the most popular planned activity to off-set rising food prices, cited by nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of U.S. adults. This strategy was followed by other budget-stretching actions, including comparing unit prices of package sizes (71 percent) and shopping at discount grocery stores (66 percent). The study also identified other planned behavior, including stocking up when items reach rock-bottom prices (64 percent) and buying in bulk (57 percent), among others.

"Food prices are expected to continue to rise this year to potentially all-time highs. Couple that with flat incomes, and increases in pricing of basic items such as food is like taking a pay cut," said Steven Boal, CEO of Inc., in a prepared statement. "Fortunately, consumers are savvier than ever when it comes to stretching budgets, and it's great to see that so many of them will take matters into their own hands when it comes to mitigating the effects of higher food costs."

Compare and Save. 71 percent of all U.S. adults plan to compare unit prices to off-set rising food prices. College graduates are significantly more likely to employ this tactic than those who attended or completed high school or attended some college.

Education Counts. Better educated adults are particularly aggressive in their cost-saving strategies. Adults with college degrees are not only significantly more likely to plan to use coupons than those without high school degrees (78 percent versus 51 percent), but they also plan to use other savings tactics more frequently, including comparing unit prices (83 percent versus 66 percent) and buying in bulk (62 percent versus 42 percent).

Battle of the Sexes. Men and women plan on taking different approaches when it comes to keeping more money in their wallets, according to the study. Compared to men, women are more likely to use coupons to off-set rising food prices (78 percent versus 66 percent). They are also more likely than men to compare unit prices of package sizes (75 percent versus 67 percent) and stock up on goods when they reach rock-bottom prices (68 percent versus 60 percent).

"No one wants to let rising food costs nickel and dime them. With a wealth of coupons and other savings strategies out there, it's easy to keep these rising prices in check," said Jeanette Pavini, household savings expert. "The truth is, with a little advance planning and smart-shopping strategies, anyone can effectively manage grocery costs - without compromising on the food and goods they need for their households."