US Household Food Shopping Patterns: Dynamic Shifts Since 2000 And Socioeconomic Predictors.Health Aff (Millwood). 2015 Nov; 34(11):1840-8.HA
Under the assumption that differential food access might underlie nutritional disparities, programs and policies have focused on the need to build supermarkets in underserved areas, in an effort to improve dietary quality. However, there is limited evidence about which types of stores are used by households of different income levels and differing races/ethnicities. We used cross-sectional cluster analysis to derive shopping patterns from US households' volume food purchases by store from 2000 to 2012. Multinomial logistic regression identified household socioeconomic characteristics that were associated with shopping patterns in 2012. We found three food shopping patterns or clusters: households that primarily shopped at grocery stores, households that primarily shopped at mass merchandisers, and a combination cluster in which households split their purchases among multiple store types. In 2012 we found no income or race/ethnicity differences for the cluster of households that primarily shopped at grocery stores. However, low-income non-Hispanic blacks (versus non-Hispanic whites) had a significantly lower probability of belonging to the mass merchandise cluster. These varied shopping patterns must be considered in future policy initiatives. Furthermore, it is important to continue studying the complex rationales for people's food shopping patterns.