Consumers Will Retain Recession-era Meal-planning Methods: Report

The recent recession appears to have resulted in a more thrifty consumer, according to a new report by market research company The NPD Group that found many respondents of the opinion that their financial situations wouldn’t improve or would even worsen over the next year. Following two years of cutting back on spending, consumers told Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD that they would continue to economize for at least for the next six to 12 months, and perhaps longer.

The report, “What’s Next on the Road to Recovery,” which explores how consumers’ habits related to food and beverage purchasing and usage have been affected by the recession, found that almost one in five consumers expect to be worse off 12 months from now than they are today, and half of all consumers expect their financial situation to be the same as it is today. Looking ahead, nine out of 10 respondents said they would plan and monitor their food and beverage spending outside the home.

“There are encouraging signs that the economy may be heading for recovery, but according to our findings, consumers, especially those with lower incomes, continue to struggle,” said Dori Hickey, NPD’s director of product development and the author of the report. “Most consumers have unquestionably felt the sting of tough economic times and have cut back on spending and adopted thriftier behaviors … that may become entrenched the longer the recession continues. Our findings suggest we may be looking at a new ‘normal.’”

Among the thriftier behaviors outlined by consumers told NPD they would adhere to more often than now over the next six months are reducing spending on groceries, cited particularly by shoppers with household incomes under $35,000; using newspaper or magazine coupons for food and beverage items; stocking up on foods and beverages on sale; searching store circulars for sale prices on food or beverages; purchasing less expensive food and beverage brands; and hunting online for manufacturer coupons.
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