Majorities of the public in the US, Britain, France, Italy and Spain have become more concerned about the price of food since the global financial crisis, and most people in these countries and in Germany are spending more money on food or are buying less expensive food, according to a new survey from Harris Interactive and Financial Times.
Concern Highest in France
Sixty-three percent of consumers in France indicate they have become more concerned about the price of food since the start of the financial crisis (generally pegged by economists as beginning in December 2007). This is the largest percentage of increased concern in any country tracked, followed by Great Britain (60%), Italy (59%), the US (58%), and Spain (53%).
Interestingly, Germany is the one country where fewer than half of consumers surveyed (42%) expressed more concern about the price of food. In every country except Spain, there was a substantial difference of 100% of more between percentages of consumers who are “somewhat concerned” as opposed to “very concerned.” In Spain, 30% are somewhat more concerned and 23% are much more concerned.
In all countries surveyed, the vast majority of consumers not expressing more concern about food prices are expressing no more or less concern, with single-digit percentages saying they are less concerned.
1 in 5 Decreasing Food Spending
In one good sign for the global food market, only roughly one in five consumers in most of the countries surveyed is responding to increased food prices by spending less money on food. The percentage is even smaller in Spain (14%) and Germany (7%).
In every country except France, a majority of remaining consumers are either spending the same on less or less expensive food, with a smaller percentage spending more on the food they have always bought. In France, 40% of consumers are spending less and 37% are spending the same. Spain has a substantially larger differential between consumers spending the same (50%) and more (36%).
Perception of Responsibility to 3rd World Varies
When asked if developed countries such as their own have a responsibility to help Third World countries cope with extreme food price fluctuations, respondents in different countries had widely varying opinions.
In the US, 35% agreed there is a responsibility while 40% disagreed (remaining percentages neither agreed nor disagreed). Great Britain showed similar sentiment (33% agreed and 34% disagreed). However, 44% of consumers in both France and Italy agreed the developed world has a responsibility to the Third World, with 24% and 23% disagreeing, respectively.
In both Spain and Germany, 36% of consumers agreed there is a responsibility. However, level of disagreement was higher in Spain (30%) than Germany (25%).
Most Americans Enjoy Cooking at Home
A large percentage of US adults enjoys cooking at home and does it frequently, according to results of another recent Harris Poll. About eight in 10 (79%) of Americans 18 and older enjoy cooking, with 14% not enjoying it and 7% not cooking at all. Positive response is virtually the same among men (78%) and women (79%), although it is slightly higher in households with children (81%) than without children (78%)
About the Data: This FT/Harris Poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive among a total of 6,255 adults aged 16-64 within France (1,102), Germany (1,029), Great Britain (1,056), Spain (1,006), U.S. (1,002) and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (1,060) between September 15 and 21, 2010. Figures for age, sex, education, region and Internet usage were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.