How Consumer Attitudes Toward Food Are Shifting as Inflation Impacts Spending Habits

Young woman buying groceries in supermarket stock photo
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Americans are cutting back on dining out (again), according to a new study. And this time, it’s not due to the pandemic or shutdowns of food establishments. It’s due to rising costs and economic uncertainty.

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The EY Future Consumer Index, which polled more than 18,000 consumers globally, discovered that more than half said that rising costs are affecting their ability to purchase goods. Prioritizing “experiences” over physical goods is a key trend, which isn’t surprising after people spent the past two years, largely, at home.

Even though 42% of consumers said they intend to cook at home more, 20% said they are seeking “cheaper alternatives for fresh food.” Meanwhile, 19% said they are looking for cheaper versions of packaged food. Well over half (57%) also indicated they would be willing to sacrifice choice in grocery brands if it meant paying less overall.

However, price isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to choosing brands. Worldwide, 26% place the environmental impact of brands ahead of affordability (24%). Millennials and Gen Z especially seek out brands that align with their values, including a commitment to sustainability. More than half (52%) of respondents overall said they are paying more attention to the social impact of their purchases, while 56% are paying attention to the environment effects.

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To continue to make the right choices where it matters, including investing in experiences, consumers are cutting back in key spending areas. According to a press release from EY.com, consumers are spending less on clothing (38%), beauty and cosmetics (35%) and alcohol (30%).

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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