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Generation Gap: Time to Chow Down on New Data

April 23, 2012 2 comments

One would think that in this economy, you’d have to be living under a rock not to notice the fluctuating prices of gas and other goods, including apparel, home goods, and, of course, groceries. In our most recent monthly consumer survey, we took a little extra time to ask our respondents about the rising prices of food – if they’ve even noticed them, whether they’re storing more leftovers in the fridge, and which items have gotten the axe from their regular shopping list. To make this data all the more interesting, we’ve divvied it up by generation:

Silent (born 1945 or earlier)
Boomers (born 1946 – 1964)
Gen X (born 1965 – 1982)
Gen Y (born 1983 – 1993)

The older, the wiser? As it turns out, members of the Silent generation are the most acutely aware of increasing food prices; nearly 90% of those born pre-1946 say they’ve witnessed rising prices in this category over the past 30 days. Almost as many Boomers say the same (82.0%), while awareness decreases among Gen X (69.9%) and Gen Y (53.7%).

Gen X, Gen Y are hitting the reheat button: Among those who have noticed rising grocery prices, those in the younger generations are the most likely to be saving leftovers for later – that’s 70% for both the Gen X and Gen Y groups. This rate reduces to 61.4% for Boomers, while Silents (52.1%) are the least likely to be squirreling away last night’s supper.

I have been eating leftovers more as a result of increasing food prices.

You can take my snacks, but not my magazines: While impulse items, snacks, candy, and cookies are the items that consumers in general are the most likely to put on a grocery budget “diet,” it’s interesting to note what seems to be more important to one generation over another. For instance:

- While Coffee is one of the least likely items to be removed from the regular grocery list, Gen Y-ers (16.0%) are three times more likely to forego the caffeine fix compared to Silents (5.3%).
– Magazines are a “top 5” cutback for the two older generations, while Gen X and Gen Y are at least 25% less likely to sacrifice the latest gossip, fashion trends, and – of course – worldly events.
– Organic foods become more important as age declines. Nearly 30% of Silents say these items have fallen from their regular grocery lists due to increasing prices, while that number is just 20% for the Gen X and Gen Y groups.
– The older the generation, the less important the brand name. Two out of five Silents and Boomers say that they’ve dropped name brand food products in general, compared to just a third of both Gen X and Gen Y.

Select Items that have been removed from Regular Grocery Lists due to Increasing Food Prices

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – APR-12 (N = 8724, 4/3 – 4/10/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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