Food Purchases During the Great Recession
Kilts Center for Marketing at Chicago Booth – Nielsen Dataset Paper Series 1-008
46 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2015 Last revised: 28 Aug 2016
Date Written: July 3, 2015
Using the Nielsen Homescan data, we describe what happened to household purchase behavior during the Great recession (Dec 2007-June 2009). Our specific objectives in this study are to understand how the recession impacted: households’ grocery spending in a broad cross-section of 31 food categories; prices paid and quantities bought by households in these categories; the types of outlets they made purchases in; the composition of the food basket in the choice of more expensive brands and less expensive brands and private label products; product volume purchased with retailer discounts and coupons; and, whether there were differences in these behaviors across different demographic groups. We find that during the recession, households purchased more in these food categories, and substituted to cheaper outlets and items sold on deal. However, contrary to expectations, we do not find evidence that the recession was the primary driver behind the increases in store brand share and coupon share observed during the recessionary period.
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