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The Business of Thrift 2018: Understanding Today’s Value-Oriented and Low-Income Consumers

As the U.S. economy continues to shift, understanding and meeting the needs of these various types of value-seeking consumers in the U.S. has never been more critical. How should food and beverage brands position themselves to succeed with these growing segments of the U.S. population? 

The Business of Thrift report provides a look at the socioeconomic forces at play in the U.S. and offers a comprehensive exploration of how value-oriented and lower-income households navigate their food and beverage consumption. 

Economic recession, recovery, and realignment have been major drivers of change in both the U.S. food and beverage industry and consumer values and purchasing behaviors. An uneven economic recovery and the growing bifurcation of wealth despite low unemployment continue to shape how many consumers source their food and understand brands long after experts declared the Great Recession over. And yet despite this wealth gap, quality attributes like organic and less processed cues are still growing in importance culturally. Similarly, as fewer households are able to call themselves “middle class,” the traditional consumer base of many brands and grocery stores is gradually eroding. At the same time, even those who are doing OK financially often can find themselves prioritizing thrift when it comes to food. 

Report package includes general report (PowerPoint and PDF), including executive summary, in-depth analysis and implications, and demographic data tables (Excel).  



  • Executive Summary
  • Income and Inequality in America
  • Food, Eating, and Health + Wellness Among Low-Income Consumers
  • Financial Security and Food Security
  • Approaches to Food Sourcing and Budgeting
  • Shopping and Savings Strategies
  • Living with Limits (Value-Oriented Consumers, SNAP/WIC/EBT Consumers, Rural Consumers)
  • Implications and Recommendations

Appendix: Federal Poverty Levels

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Published September 2018 (126 pages)

Now: $10,000

List Price: $15,000