Survey shows US workers have changed eating habits in recession

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food Meal Dinner

More than three-quarters of American workers report changing their eating habits in the recession, eating out less and switching brands, according to a survey from marketing company WorkPlace Media.

Commentators have noted that consumers have sought to spend less on eating and drinking outside the home as they count their pennies during the recession. And although many food manufacturers have suffered from declining sales, some sectors of the industry have cashed in, with sales of premium ready meals, some chocolate and private label goods all bucking the trend.

The WorkPlace Media focused on the habits of working Americans, surveying 760 workers in June 2009. It found significant differences in the way they have been spending money on food for every meal, whether inside or outside of the home.

CEO of WorkPlace Media Stephanie Molnar said: “When it comes to how the recession has affected the daily routines of workers, fewer working consumers are purchasing breakfast, lunch and dinner out. Some have even resorted to skipping meals to save money.”

Nine percent of those surveyed said they “rarely eat breakfast any more”​ while 76 percent said they had made some sort of cut to their food and beverage consumption.

Molnar said: “You can expect even more changes to these habits as the recession plays itself out — and hopefully recedes. But staying in touch with these changing attitudes is utterly crucial for any company looking to stay in step with today’s working consumer.”

The survey showed that the trend toward private label goods is particularly strong, with half of respondents saying they are buying more generic products at the supermarket. Meanwhile, 57 percent said they were using more coupons.

Other trends included trading down from more expensive takeout coffee brands, preparing more meals at home, and saving their grocery shopping for larger stock-up trips.

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