Shopping Around? How Households Adjusted Food Spending Over the Great Recession

43 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2014

See all articles by Rachel Griffith

Rachel Griffith

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); University of Manchester; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Martin O'Connell

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Kate Smith

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); University College London

Date Written: August 2014

Abstract

Over the Great Recession real wages stagnated and unemployment increased. Concurrently, food prices rose sharply, outstripping growth in food expenditure, and leading to a reduction in calories purchased. This has led to concern about rising food poverty. We study British households to assess how they adjusted to changes in the economic environment. We show they switched to cheaper calories; implying food consumption was smoother than expenditure. We use longitudinal data to quantify the way households lowered their per calorie spending, and show they done this in part by increasing shopping effort, and without lowering the nutritional quality of their groceries.

Keywords: nutrition, opportunity cost of time, shopping behaviour

JEL Classification: D12, I31

Suggested Citation

Griffith, Rachel and O'Connell, Martin and Smith, Kate, Shopping Around? How Households Adjusted Food Spending Over the Great Recession (August 2014). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP10096. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2501569

Rachel Griffith (Contact Author)

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom
+44 20 7291 4800 (Phone)
+44 20 7323 4780 (Fax)

University of Manchester ( email )

Arthur Lewis Building
Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.ifs.org.uk/people/profile?id=37

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Martin O'Connell

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Kate Smith

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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