Food Demand Survey (FooDS) - March 2015

The March 2015 edition of the Food Demand Survey (FooDS) is now out.

The release of the federal dietary guidelines did not seem to have a measurable effect on meat demand as consumer willingness-to-pay (WTP) for all meat products (except steak) increased from February to March.  WTP for pork chop increased by almost 12% and chicken breast by 8%. WTP for all meat products are higher relative to this time last year.  Food spending at home was up this month, but spending away from home was down from a record high last month. 

Three new ad hoc questions were added this month, two of which are discussed here.  

The first question was motivated by a research seminar that Marc Bellemare from University of Minnesota presented here at OSU last month.  His research suggested that an increase in the number of farmers markets in a particular location was associated with an increase in foodborne illnesses in that location.  I was curious whether consumers thought farmers market food was more or less safe than grocery store food (it was also a question Marc was keen to ask).  So, respondents were asked,  “Compared to food from a supermarket, do you believe food from a farmers’ market is more likely or less likely to cause food borne illnesses resulting from bacterial or viral contamination?”

There was no clear consensus. About 28% or respondents thought food from a farmers’ market was more likely to cause illness than from a supermarket, about 45% thought “food from a farmers’ market is neither more or less likely to cause food borne illnesses than food from a supermarket” and 27% thought farmers’ market food was more safe than supermarket food. 

The second question stated: “The Federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recently released preliminary dietary guidelines for Americans. Which of the following do you think is true?” Eleven items were presented, and respondents indicated true, false, or I don’ t know. Approximately 41% of participants believe that the committee’s dietary advice is not trustworthy and 65% thought the advice would change in 10 years. About half the respondents thought the guidelines should consider effects on the environment, 21% disagreed, and 32% unsure. About half the respondents correctly knew the committee recommended less meat consumption. Almost two thirds thought the committee cautioned against dietary cholesterol.

A third question was also asked that I'll discuss in a separate post.