Journal Article

Shopping around: how households adjusted food spending over the Great Recession

Date: 01 April 2016
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1468-0335
Published in: Economica , Vol. 83, pp. 247-280
DOI: 10.1111/ecca.12166

Over the Great Recession, UK households reduced real food expenditure. We show that they were able to maintain the number of calories that they purchased, and the nutritional quality of these calories, by adjusting their shopping behaviour. We document the mechanisms that households used. We motivate our analysis with a model of shopping behaviour in which households adjust shopping effort and the characteristics of their shopping basket in response to economic shocks. We use detailed longitudinal data and focus on within-household changes in basket characteristics and proxies for shopping effort.