Food Demand Survey (FooDS) - January 2017

The January 2017 edition of the Food Demand Survey (FooDS) is now out.

After reporting a decline in willingness-to-pay (WTP) for virtually all food products last month, WTP increased for all food products rebounded, with all food products experiencing gains of at least 7%. Steak, deli ham, and chicken wings experienced the largest percent increase in WTP. WTP for both beef products is higher than one year ago, but the opposite was the case for both pork products.

There was a bit of an uptick in reported spending on food away from home, and consumers report expecting higher meat prices in coming weeks relative to last month.  

An ad hoc question was added this month on food waste.  Subjects were shown the following question, which was loosely based on the questions posed by Violeta Stancu and colleagues in this paper published in 2016 in the journal Appetite.  (Note that the order of items was randomized across respondents).  

The most common answer for each item was “hardly any”.

Models were used to estimate the percent of food thrown away each week for each product category. On average, more fresh fruits and vegetables were said to be thrown away than compared to  the other food categories, with 12.7% of this type of food being thrown away. Meat and fish was ranked as the least likely to throw away, with respondents stating only 9.8% of all meat and fish bought was thrown away.

Analysis of demographic data shows (averaged across all food categories), females report about 3 percentage points more food thrown away than men; younger individuals about 10 percentage points more than older consumers; people on SNAP (aka “food stamps”) about 6 percentage points more food is thrown away than by than people not on SNAP; and higher income individuals say they throw away about 5 percentage points more food than lower income individuals.

One of the issues we aim to explore with additional analysis is the extent to which stated food waste behavior is related to risk and time preferences.