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AARP Bulletin Survey on Rising Food Costs: Executive Summary

The AARP Bulletin commissioned a nationwide survey in June 2008 to find out how consumers 45+ feel about rising food prices and how it has impacted them personally.

Key survey findings indicate that:

  • Almost half of respondents (49%) believe that food prices have caused a hardship on their budget. Over three out of five respondents (63%) ages 45-49 stated that food prices have caused a hardship. Respondents ages 45-49 (69%) were more likely than the 50+ (49%) to report that they have started cutting back on summer entertaining to cope with rising food prices. In addition, 78% of respondents ages 45-49 said that they have started eating out less, compared with 54% of those 50+.
  • Slightly over half (52%) think that there is a global food shortage. Respondents ages 50+ (55%) are more likely than those ages 45-49 (38%) to think there is a global food shortage. However, the 50+ (39%) are less likely than those ages 45-49 (51%) to think that certain food items may need to be rationed within the next year.
  • The majority (71%) think that the government is responsible for rising food prices. Two out of five (44%) think that natural disasters play a role in rising food costs. Respondents were less likely to think that restaurants (11%), farmers (16%), grocery stores (28%), or food processing plants (29%) were responsible for these rising costs.
  • Just over half (53%) do not think it is likely that certain food items may need to be rationed within the next year. Four out of five (81%) reported that they have not started eating fewer meals in the past six months. However, over half have started using discount coupons at grocery stores (57%) and started buying generic grocery brand items (56%), and one in five (19%) have started eating fewer meals.

The study was conducted for AARP via telephone by International Communications Research using its national omnibus survey service. The interviews were conducted from June 4-9, 2008, among a nationally representative sample of 1,009 people ages 45 and older. For further information, contact Lona Choi-Allum at 202-434-6333. (4 pages)