Retailers, consumers and prices
Frugal is the fashion in food shopping
In a bid to stretch shrinking grocery dollars, U.S. consumers are shunning restaurants for home-cooked meals, clipping coupons, scouring grocery store flyers for deals and consolidating trips to save gas.The U.S. Agriculture Department has warned that 2008 could bring the biggest increase in food prices in nearly 20 years. If shoppers’ words match their actions, it seems that frugal will become the new fashion.
Roughly 80 percent of respondents to a recent survey said they planned to continue those penny-pinching ways even after the economy turns up and they have more coins jingling in their pockets, according to retail consulting firm Precima, which commissioned the online survey that polled more than 2,000 U.S. consumers.
Half of the consumers said they cut back on frozen dinners, while more than 40 percent said they nixed chips, cookies and dessert items like ice cream and cake when money was tight.
Beer, wine and spirits fared only slightly better — 40 percent of respondents said they stopped buying booze to save cash.
Still fewer people — nearly one-third of respondents — said they were already trading down from national brands to lower-priced store brands.
“Despite the challenging economy, consumers are very reluctant to switch brands to save money,” said Brian Moss, Precima’s general manager.
(Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)