Monday, February 16, 2009

Food Spending, the Environment and the Economy

The changing economic situation has impacted every sector of the economy. Food spending by consumers is no exception. The Wall Street Journal had an article that summarized data on food spending trends. Generally, spending dropped as people switched from brand names, dining out and lattes to using more private label foods and doing things at home. Another interesting element was the increase in fresh vegetable spending. However, fast food spending did increase. It is difficult to determine what the impact is on the environment or health. If people are cooking more at home I would imagine that would translate into lower saturated fat, sugar and salt intake. The increase in fast food spending may negate that. Less waste may be generated with fewer take out containers and less driving to restaurants could be saving fuel. Whether this change becomes permanent depends on how quickly the economy recovers. I'm sure the next trend to emerge will be in home energy efficiency or at least a drop in energy use. Unfortunately, most people will forget the tough times when the good times come back.

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