Budget-Conscious Consumers Still Cooking at Home

Attest research shows that nearly 60% of shoppers have trouble affording food
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Attest survey on consumer dining trends
A new report on food security from research firm Attest shows that consumers worry about inflation and continue to prepare and eat meals at home.

On the heels of fresh government data showing another hike in food-at-home inflation in August, a new report from consumer research platform Attest shows that well over half – 59.5% – of consumers say they are struggling to afford the food they want to eat.

“It’s a stark statistic, which means food and beverage brands and retailers must continue to adapt to real consumer needs imposed by macroeconomic conditions,” observed Jeremy King, CEO and founder of the New York City-based Attest. “It’s likely that the outlook will remain challenging for months to come, with the certainty that F&B consumption is in a state of transition and the possibility that some of these new consumer behaviors will become permanent. As ever, understanding what’s happening in the minds of consumers is the key to understanding how to win in a rapidly evolving market.”  

According to the “Facing Up to Food Insecurity” report, people are also shopping around to find deals as they grapple with elevated food prices. The data reveals that 67% of respondents go to two to three different stores to buy groceries, with 27% reporting that they are loyal to one store.

Although today’s shoppers are concerned about prices, Attest’s research indicates that people remain interested in cooking for themselves and their families. Only 14.5% of survey participants said they don’t like cooking and 76% reported they feel they have plenty of time to cook at home.

Consumers are also looking for new ways to prepare meals as they mix up their food purchasing habits. Most turn to websites, apps, social media and advice from friends and families to find recipes, with only 11% reporting that they use an actual cookbook. As for appliances, 58% say they now own an air fryer appliance and 85% have a microwave.

[Read more: "A Peek Inside Consumers’ Kitchens"]

Grocers can also heed of the report’s findings about dining away from home. According to the research, 39% of consumers eat at a restaurant one to three times a month, while a smaller segment of 13% say they can afford to eat out between three and seven days a week. In a finding relevant to grocers with foodservice programs, nearly a third of respondents (31%) say they get takeout food one to two times a week.

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