Determined to Eat Just as Well While Spending Less

Even in a recession, self-denial has its limits — particularly when it comes to eating. Responses to polling for the Yankelovich Dollars & Consumer Sense 2009 Grocery Syndicate Study show shoppers intent on spending less at the super-market. But it detects little inclination to make do with less in return for these reduced expenditures.

Majorities of those polled plan to take a number of steps in the next six months to stretch their dollars by taking advantage of discounts. For instance, 61 percent will clip or download coupons, 59 percent will make more use of store loyalty programs and 49 percent will hold off whenever possible on buying items until they’re on sale.

Fewer plan to trade down to lower-quality goods, though: 35 percent said they’ll use cheaper brands or ingredients when cooking; 32 percent plan to “move down a level of quality on at least some of the food products you purchase for yourself.”

Even among respondents identified by Yankelovich as “price-focused,” fewer than half (47 percent) said they would take a step down in the quality of the foods they buy for themselves. By contrast, 75 percent of respondents in this penny-pinching cohort said they’d be clipping and downloading coupons.

One finding in the survey (fielded last month) pointed to an opportunity for marketers of grocery-store coffee: 53 percent of respondents said they intend to “drink less coffee that you purchase in coffee shops and more coffee that you prepare at home in order to save money” during the next six months.

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