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  • Purchases of Foods by Convenience Type Driven by Prices, Income, and Advertising

    Amber Waves, November 07, 2016

    Between 2007 and 2010, the share of the average U.S. household’s food budget spent in grocery stores—on ingredients as well as ready-to-eat foods—rose as Americans cut back on eating out, especially at fast-food places.

  • U.S. Households’ Demand for Convenience Foods

    ERR-211, July 29, 2016

    ERS examines demand for convenience foods in recent years and the mechanisms driving the demand, including changes in prices of convenience foods and in consumers’ income, the amount of hours worked by household heads, and advertising.

  • Understanding IRI Household-Based and Store-Based Scanner Data

    TB-1942, April 13, 2016

    This report examines the methodology, characteristics, and statistical properties of food scanner data purchased by ERS. It provides an introduction to the data for new users and important considerations for advanced users.

  • The Role of Time in Fast-Food Purchasing Behavior in the United States

    ERR-178, November 20, 2014

    ERS examines the effects of time-use behaviors, sociodemographic characteristics, labor force participation, and prices on fast-food purchasing patterns in the United States before and after the 2007-09 recession.

  • New Data on U.S. Food-Away-From-Home Prices Show Geographic and Time Variation

    Amber Waves, September 08, 2014

    ERS’s new data product provides quarterly average prices for foods and beverages at four types of away-from-home eating places (full- and limited-service restaurants, vending machines, and schools) to help support research on demand for food away from home over time and across geographic areas.

  • Methodology for the Quarterly Food-Away-from-Home Prices Data

    TB-1938, May 21, 2014

    ERS's new Quarterly Food-Away-from-Home Prices (QFAFHP) data show substantial variation in prices across U.S. regions and food establishment types, with implications for analyses of food purchasing behavior and dietary outcomes.

  • Substitute and Complementary Foods Are Important When Assessing Impacts of Price Policies on Dietary Quality

    Amber Waves, February 21, 2013

    With many Americans consuming too much fat and added sugars and not enough fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, some public health advocates have called for taxes or subsidies on particular foods as a way to improve Americans’ diets. To capture the total impact of hypothetical price policies on dietary quality requires a model that includes consumer responsiveness to complementary and substitute foods.

  • Americans’ Food Choices at Home and Away: How Do They Compare With Recommendations?

    Amber Waves, February 21, 2013

    In grocery stores, Americans underspend on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and overspend on refined grains, fats, and sugars/sweets, compared with dietary guidance Away-from-home foods are even less consistent with dietary guidance.

  • Agricultural Policies Have Little Effect on U.S. Calorie Consumption

    Amber Waves, December 03, 2012

    Many observers speculate that agricultural policies contribute to increased U.S. obesity rates by making certain commodities more abundant and therefore cheaper. However, a recent study finds that the effects of farm subsidies, when combined with the effects of other agricultural policies that restrict supply such as acreage set-asides or import barriers, have little impact on average calorie consumption.

  • Assessing the Healthfulness of Consumers' Grocery Purchases

    EIB-102, November 08, 2012

    Americans have a long way to go in conforming to dietary guidelines when purchasing food for home; they buy too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and choose foods with too many fats and added sugars.

  • The Demand for Disaggregated Food-Away-From-Home and Food-at-Home Products in the United States

    ERR-139, August 23, 2012

    Food away from home (FAFH) comprises nearly half of all U.S. consumer food expenditures. Hence, policies designed to influence nutritional outcomes would be incomplete if they did not address the role of FAFH. However, because of data limitations, most studies of the response of food demand to policy changes have ignored the role of FAFH, and those studies that have included FAFH have treated it as a single good. We, therefore, estimate demand for 43 disaggregated FAFH and food-at-home (FAH) products, using a 2-stage budgeting framework. We find that the demands for disaggregated FAFH products differ in price responsiveness and tend to be more sensitive to changes in food spending patterns than FAH products. Many foods are found to have statistically significant substitution and complementary relationships within and among food groups.