Food-purchase Quantity, Quality Taking A Hit

A new survey by Princeton, N.J.-based Opinion Research Corp. said 67% of people polled nationwide feel that food prices have increased significantly in the last year, and 58% say they’ve had to make cuts to food purchases as a result, the Atlanta Business Journal reported.

The New Jersey firm conducted the survey for Minnesota-based Hormel Food Corp.

Two-thirds of Americans who responded to the survey said they’re losing economic ground as inflation outstrips any increase in income. Additionally, 47% said they’re having more trouble paying their bills this year than last, and 84% are concerned about rising food prices, the Atlanta Business Journal reported.

To help cope with rising food costs, a majority of Americans have been forced to make adjustments in food-buying habits – nearly one in five said they’ve been forced to choose between buying food or gas, the publication reported.

“It is estimated that more than 100 million people in the world have been forced into poverty and hunger because of the dramatic increase in food prices,” said Benjamin Senauer, a professor of applied economics at the University of Minnesota. “Millions of American families’ food budgets have been stretched to the limit and beyond. Food stamp enrollment is up and food banks are seeing unprecedented demand.”

More than half of those polled in the survey are taking multiple steps to reduce food costs, such as using coupons, buying generic or store brands, eating at home more often, buying less-expensive cuts of meat and buying less-expensive staples such as rice and potatoes.

Two-thirds also said the federal government should do more to solve the hunger problem in the U.S. by making it a higher priority and providing more funding.

Meanwhile, 14% said they or someone in their immediate family have received food from a food bank, shelter or other charitable organization in the past year because of lack of money for food.

Among those who have not received food donations in the past year, 21% say it is very or somewhat likely that rising costs or some other change in circumstance may force them to ask for food from a charitable organization in the future.

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