Monday, September 28, 2009

New Survey Shows Shoppers Eating More Meals at Home, Cooking Meals to Save Money

AUSTIN, TX. (September 2, 2009) – Whole Foods Market® (NASDAQ: WFMI), the leading natural and organic foods supermarket, today announced results from its annual Food Shopping Trends Tracker survey conducted by Harris Interactive®, which found that two out of three (68 percent) U.S. adults have changed their cooking and eating habits because of the current state of the economy, with about half (51 percent) eating dinner at home more often and more than a third (37 percent) budgeting food shopping trips more strictly.

At the same time, the survey found that the majority (76 percent) say they do not want to compromise on the quality of the food they buy, regardless of current food prices. While three in four (75 percent) also continue to purchase natural and/or organic foods in the same quantities as they always have, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of consumers surveyed say they would like to find ways to be able to buy these foods within their budget.

“We recognize that shoppers should be able to cut costs, not corners when buying natural and organic foods,” says A.C. Gallo, co-president and chief operating officer for Whole Foods Market. “This research is in sync with what we are seeing right now with our customers as they are taking advantage of our in-store value programs and specials, and they are turning to us for meal planning and ideas more than ever before, especially via our website.”

Of the adults who said their grocery shopping habits have been affected by current food prices, half (54 percent), are using more coupons are more likely to comparison shop (50 percent), and are more likely to buy private label/grocery store brands (45 percent). Gallo notes that Whole Foods Market’s “The Whole Deal” program helps customers stretch their food dollar with special deals, product coupons and shopping tips, and that the recipe section is the most popular category on

Interestingly, four in five adults (80 percent) think the price of groceries, in general, has increased since this time last year, according to the survey. However, according to the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index release for July 2009, the food at home index has declined for the seventh time in the past eight months for a total decrease of 2.6 percent from its peak in November 2008.

Learn to Cook. Learn to Save. Eat Healthy.

The survey found that most adults (79 percent) cook at home. More than half (54 percent) saying they do so to save money, while 44 percent of respondents say they simply enjoy eating their favorite foods in the comfort of their home and 41 percent say they cook at home to ensure they are eating healthfully.

Among parents who provide breakfast, packed school lunches and/or after-school snacks for their children, nearly half (45 percent) say they would like to find ways to provide these types of healthy foods within their budget, and some (20 percent) insist on providing these healthy food items, with little attention to price.

“Helping families eat healthy and on a budget is a priority for Whole Foods Market,” says Gallo. For example, Whole Foods Market recently launched a new partnership with Chef Ann Cooper, the nation’s “renegade lunch lady” to help busy families build better lunchboxes and to help schools bring about real change in how children eat. Also, Whole Foods Market is embarking on a new Healthy Eating Initiative for customers and the company’s Team Members. The program, which will kick off in early 2010, aims to help everyone make informed diet and lifestyle choices that promote good health. [Read the rest of the article at]

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