Objective: To characterize food group purchases from grocery receipts.
Methods: Food shoppers (aged>or=19 years with at least one child aged<or=18 years in the home, the family's primary food purchaser) were recruited in front of grocery stores to participate in two interviews, separated by 6 weeks, and to save and mail grocery store receipts from the interim to researchers. Receipt items were coded by food categories; the percentage of total grocery dollars spent in each of the food categories each week was computed. Analyses of variance were performed on the total grocery dollar spent and the percentage spent in each food category by participant characteristics.
Results: The greatest percentage of purchases were for protein foods (24%), followed by drinks (12%), grains (9.2%), vegetables (8.8%), dairy (8.3%), mixed dishes (7.5%), and fruit (7%). Hispanics purchased a greater percentage of fruit and vegetables than African Americans. Whites purchased more alcohol products than African Americans. Whites purchased more mixed dishes than Hispanics, and African Americans purchased more protein foods than whites (all P<0.001).
Conclusions: The use of this measurement procedure, unaffected by errors of self-report, should be more thoroughly explored to explain differences in disease prevalence.