Americans’ purchases at the grocery store are shifting based on the economic downturn. The headline from NielsenHealth is that consumers are searching for quality and value when shopping. And, people are cooking more at home and purchasing staple goods to have in the pantry.

Americans are also buying more wine and vitamins. Dried vegetables and grains along with salads are also up.
Could it be that the recession is driving consumers toward some healthy food habits?
Perhaps, at least for some. At the beginning of each year, there’s an upward blip driven by New Year’s weight loss resolutions in the U.S. which increases spending on fresh foods, diet products and fitness equipment. Of course, this doesn’t hold throughout the year, which the chart on the left demonstrates from Nielsen’s data highlighting this trend from 2006-2008. As the data illustrates, this trend has held for all 3 years.
Still, the wine/vitamin/veg/salad growth data was reported for the entire year from 2007 to 2008.
There is one caveat on this positive spin: a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Health finds that people who live in lower-income areas have less access to healthy foods in neighborhood grocery stores.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: The conventional wisdom during tough economic times says that people will migrate to unhealthy comfort foods — think macaroni and cheese, salty snacks, and other things that make you go “mmmm.” I hasten to point out that only two company stocks in the Dow Jones Index moved upward in 2008: McDonald’s and Walmart (this is what Trader Mark on Seeking Alpha calls, the Pooring of America Plays” in the stock market).
But wait! McDonald’s has been trying to expand its healthful choices, and Walmart’s latest ad campaign (“Being healthy costs less at Walmart“) features a woman searching the store for a variety of healthy choices. And Walmart’s also been expanding its organic selection in its grocery section.
So consumers, keep on buying those vitamins, those dried beans for hearty soups, and that resveratrol-filled red wine. We can get throught this recession healthier than where we began it.

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