Consumers continue to focus on value

by Keith Nunes
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NEW YORK — Consumers continue to exhibit frugality in their purchasing patterns, according to a recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive. The poll, which was conducted between June 13 and 20, and included 2,163 adults, showed Americans expect the economy to worsen in the next year. As a result, Americans are taking steps to reduce expenditures.

Of interest to food and beverage manufacturers are the facts that 67% of the survey’s respondents said they are purchasing more generic brands in an effort to save money, up from 61% who responded to the same question in February. Forty-six per cent of consumers are brown-bagging their lunch as a way to save money, up from 45% in February.

Thirty-nine per cent of respondents also said they have switched from purchasing bottled water to using refillable water bottles. The result is an increase of 4% from the February survey. The poll also showed that the number of consumers who have stopped purchasing coffee in the morning has remained steady at 21%.

“While there are some differences in the changes older and younger Americans are making to save money — for example, older Americans who may no longer work are less likely to report beginning to brown bag their lunch, carpool or use mass transit, or purchase coffee in the morning — what is clear is that most Americans are making some changes in order to cut back on expenses,” said Harris Interactive. “While making more careful spending decisions may be good for a household budget, continual cutting back doesn't do much to help the overall economy grow.”

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