|Home > An Economic Analysis of Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: Implications for Overweight and Obesity among Higher- and Lower-Income Consumers|
This paper examines the consumption patterns of higher- and lower-income consumers for fresh fruit and vegetables. Supermarket scanner data are obtained for every fresh fruit and vegetable sold in six supermarkets over 69 weeks during 2001 and 2002. These data are collected from three inner-city stores (lower income) and three suburban stores (higher income) in Columbus, Ohio. These data are segmented into eight sub-categories of fruit and six sub-categories of vegetables. An error correction model consisting of 14 equations is specifi ed and estimated using the time series cross-section regression procedure in SAS. Results show lower-income consumers to be more price-sensitive and more careful shoppers, as compared to higher-income shoppers. Lower-income shoppers are shown to make larger purchases from the lower-priced sub-categories of fruit and vegetables and they invariably pay lower prices. These purchase patterns suggest that income constrains the purchase behavior of lower-income consumers and, if higher consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is critical to alleviating overweight and obesity among lower-income Americans, the analyses suggest a need for some type of market intervention to make fresh fruits and vegetables more affordable (e.g., price subsidies).