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Purdue's year-end survey unveils consumer food trends

Survey provides a comprehensive look at food behaviors, sustainability and trends from the past year.

Taking Opinion Poll Survey Pixabay Andreas Breitling
Andreas Breitling | Pixabay

Purdue University's Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability has released the December 2023 Consumer Food Insights Report, delving into critical aspects of food safety, age-related consumer behavior, and trends in out-of-stock items. With a focus on food spending, consumer satisfaction, and values, the survey-based report offers a detailed analysis of the evolving landscape in the food industry.

Key survey findings:

  • Food date labels and discard decision: The report explores the relationships between food date labels and the decision to discard food. Sensory cues such as smell and appearance play a crucial role in the decision-making process. The December survey posed hypothetical scenarios to gauge consumer responses.
  • Generational differences in food behaviors: The survey reveals significant differences in Sustainable Food Purchasing (SFP) Index and food values among generational cohorts, highlighting varying priorities and considerations when making food choices.
  • Food price inflation: As food price inflation declines, consumers adjust their estimates and expectations. The data show a decrease in both inflation estimates and expectations, indicating a potential shift in consumer optimism about food prices in the new year.
  • Food spending patterns by generation: The survey identifies differences in food spending by generation, with middle generations spending more per week on food for their households. The correlation between spending and household size is a significant factor in this variation.
  • Food insecurity across generations: Food insecurity rates are consistently higher among young adults, particularly in the Gen Z generation, reflecting income differences. Older generations experience lower food insecurity rates, often attributed to higher income levels.
  • Consumer trends in 2023: Average stockout rates reported by consumers dropped 18% to 14% from 2022. Eggs, following the avian influenza outbreak, were the most commonly reported out-of-stock item in 2023. The report also highlights the most common food limitation reported by consumers in 2023 – sugar.

Purdue University's Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability, part of Purdue's Next Moves in agriculture and food systems, employs innovative data analysis to enhance the food system. The Consumer Food Insights Report provides valuable insights for industry stakeholders and consumers alike. For more information and access to the full report, visit Purdue's Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability.

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