Publications

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  • Promoting Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: Are Coupons More Effective than Pure Price Discounts?

    ERR-96, June 03, 2010

    ERS compares the potential effectiveness of coupons versus price discounts in encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption among participants in Federal food and nutrition assistance programs.

  • In the Long Run: Food Product Introductions Buck Long-Term Trend

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2010

    U.S. food and beverage product introductions have increased for most of the last decade and a half. In 2009, however, U.S. food and beverage product introductions fell by 3,519 to 19,047, the second consecutive yearly reduction and the largest in at least 15 years.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2010

    Selected statistics on agriculture and trade, diet and health, natural resources, and rural America.

  • Retail Dairy Prices Fluctuate With Farm Value of Milk

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2009

    In the late 1990s, a nearly two-decade decline in farm share of retail dairy prices slowed and in 2000-2008, farm share fluctuated between 26 and 35 percent. Consumers saw modest increases in dairy prices over this period until the 2007-08 jump in food price inflation.

  • Vegetables and Melons Outlook: August 2009

    VGS-333-01, August 19, 2009

    Growth over time in the demand for fresh vegetables for at-home consumption may slow because of differences in the behavior of younger and older birth cohorts. A birth cohort includes people born in the same year and is similar in concept to a generation. People born around the same point in history may share common behaviors that they carry throughout their lives independent of age. People born more recently are found to spend less money for fresh vegetables than older Americans do. Changes in how people purchase and consume food may help to explain these effects.

  • Access to Affordable and Nutritious Food-Measuring and Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences: Report to Congress

    AP-036, June 25, 2009

    This report fills a request for a study of food deserts-areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food-from the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The report summarizes findings of a national-level assessment of the extent and characteristics of food deserts, analysis of the consequences of food deserts, lessons learned from related Federal programs, and a discussion of policy options for alleviating the effects of food deserts. Overall, findings show that a small percentage of consumers are constrained in their ability to access affordable nutritious food because they live far from a supermarket or large grocery store and do not have easy access to transportation.

  • Rising Food Prices and Economic Uncertainty Take Toll on Traditional Grocers

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2009

    As prices for many food staples rose sharply in 2007 and 2008, consumers turned to discount supermarkets and non-traditional grocers to reduce their grocery spending. Price-oriented, limited assortment supermarkets and superwarehouse supermarkets posted higher 2007 sales growth than the average sales growth for all supermarkets.

  • Behind the Data: Validation Study Tests Accuracy of Homescan Data

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2009

    Nielsen Homescan data provide a wealth of information about household purchasing patterns, allowing researchers to address questions relating to the dynamics of retail food markets. Households participating in the Homescan panel use a scanner to record prices and quantities of food products purchased at a wide variety of stores. ERS and other researchers have used these data to understand consumer purchase behavior. However, some researchers question the credibility of the data since the data are self-recorded and the recording process is time consuming.

  • An Illustrated Guide to Research Findings from USDA's Economic Research Service

    EIB-48, April 01, 2009

    This book contains a sampling of recent ERS research illustrating the breadth of the Agency's research on current policy issues: from biofuels to food consumption to land conservation to patterns of trade for agricultural products.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2009

    Indicators table from March 2009 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Working Parents Outsource Children’s Meals

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2009

    Virtually all households take the dollar cost of food into account when making food choices. But for some households, the time involved in planning, shopping for, and preparing a meal is also an important consideration. Findings from the Eating & Health Module of the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) indicate that many working parents free up time by "outsourcing" their children's meals--that is, they purchase prepared meals for their children at school or day care.

  • The Roles of Economists in the U.S. Department of Agriculture

    AP-031, January 02, 2009

    Among the many responsibilities of USDA are implementing the Food Stamp Program and other food and nutrition assistance programs; managing Federal forest land; implementing standards of humane care and treatment of animals; providing incentives for adopting wildlife habitat enhancements and other conservation practices; participating in trade negotiations; ensuring the safety of meat, poultry, and eggs; providing funds for rural business development; and implementing farm programs legislated by Congress. The Department has a broad mandate, and virtually everything with which it is charged has economic dimensions. It is not surprising, then, that USDA employs over 800 economists across 16 of its agencies.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2008

    Indicators charts from the June 2008 issue of Amber Waves

  • Price Trends Are Similar for Fruits, Vegetables, and Snack Foods

    ERR-55, March 12, 2008

    Evidence suggest that a wide class of unprepared fresh fruits and vegetables-those that have not been combined with labor-saving attributes-display declining prices along with prices of commonly consumed dessert and snack foods

  • On The Map

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2008

    ERS estimates of retail food price variation show that average prices for 11 grocery store items were 8 percent higher than the national average in the Northeast and 6 percent lower in the Midwest for the years 2004-07.

  • Corn Prices Near Record High, But What About Food Costs?

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2008

    Ethanol's impact on retail food prices depends on how long the increased demand for corn drives up farm corn prices and the extent to which higher corn prices are passed through to retail. ERS research traces the effect of higher corn prices on U.S. retail food prices by analyzing data on price trends and price response of corn-dependent food to cost changes

  • Rising Food Prices Intensify Food Insecurity in Developing Countries

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2008

    Recent hikes in oil prices have raised serious concerns in low-income countries, both because of the financial burden of the higher energy import bill and potential constraints on imports of necessities like food and raw materials. Higher oil prices also have sparked energy security concerns worldwide, increasing the demand for biofuel production.

  • The Changing Economics of U.S. Hog Production

    ERR-52, December 27, 2007

    ERS examines the economic factors that underlie the dramatic decline in number of hog operations over the past 15 years and the increasing concentration of production on large, specialized hog farms.

  • Time Is Money. . .and Dinner!

    Amber Waves, September 03, 2007

    Among women, time factors are more important than income in determining the time spent preparing food.

  • Soft Drink Companies Make Splash in Bottled Water

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2007

    U.S. consumers now drink more bottled water than any other beverage, except carbonated soft drinks. The four largest suppliers' share of bottled water sales rose from 52 percent in 1997 to 63 percent in 2002. Leveraged by their extensive bottling and distribution networks and advertising budgets, Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola entered the bottled water industry in the mid- to late-1990s and quickly ranked among the top four suppliers in the U.S.