Consumer food choices: the role of price and pricing strategies

Public Health Nutr. 2011 Dec;14(12):2220-6. doi: 10.1017/S1368980011001637. Epub 2011 Jul 14.


Objective: To study differences in the role of price and value in food choice between low-income and higher-income consumers and to study the perception of consumers about pricing strategies that are of relevance during grocery shopping.

Design: A cross-sectional study was conducted using structured, written questionnaires. Food choice motives as well as price perceptions and opinion on pricing strategies were measured.

Setting: The study was carried out in point-of-purchase settings, i.e. supermarkets, fast-food restaurants and sports canteens.

Subjects: Adults (n 159) visiting a point-of-purchase setting were included.

Results: Price is an important factor in food choice, especially for low-income consumers. Low-income consumers were significantly more conscious of value and price than higher-income consumers. The most attractive strategies, according to the consumers, were discounting healthy food more often and applying a lower VAT (Value Added Tax) rate on healthy food. Low-income consumers differ in their preferences for pricing strategies.

Conclusions: Since price is more important for low-income consumers we recommend mainly focusing on their preferences and needs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Commerce / economics*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis / economics
  • Costs and Cost Analysis / methods
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fast Foods / economics
  • Female
  • Food / economics*
  • Food Preferences*
  • Food, Organic / economics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty / economics
  • Restaurants / economics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult