Purdue’s consumer food survey shows that despite rising food costs, ‘recession’ spending hasn’t increased

In May, consumers paid 7% more for groceries compared to April.  - qmnonic/CC-BY-2.0.

In May, consumers paid 7% more for groceries compared to April.


A new consumer food survey from Purdue University shows that families have yet to cut back on grocery shopping as food prices remain high.

Purdue has conducted a monthly survey since January of more than 1,000 consumers across the United States. In May, consumers paid 7% more for groceries than in April.

Jayson Lusk, director and distinguished professor of agricultural economics at Purdue, said it shows shoppers have yet to start changing their habits to lower the grocery bill.

“There are a few metrics we’re monitoring to see if consumers are moving towards a more recessive mindset. One question would be – do you buy branded or generic? ” he said.

Other factors, such as the level of food insecurity, also remained stable. Currently, some 16 percent of households are food insecure.

“At the moment we don’t see any big moves there. So far the story – despite the fact that prices are higher and nobody likes it – I think on average in the economy consumers seem to be getting along and not acting yet as if they were in a pickle,” he said. “But I think there are reasons to watch that and how the economy may go and whether the good times will continue.”

Other findings from this month’s survey describe the extent of dietary disparity along racial lines. Lusk said black and Hispanic consumers were twice as likely to experience food insecurity as white and Asian households.

“It’s probably the result of a variety of reasons, including income differences…where you live, access to grocery stores, things like that,” he said. “Quite large differences if you want to identify where are the households where we see signs of hunger problems.”

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