Younger Consumers Exhibit Less Demand for Fresh Vegetables

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Growth over time in the demand for fresh vegetables for at-home consumption may slow because of differences in the behavior of younger and older birth cohorts. A birth cohort includes people born in the same year and is similar in concept to a generation. People born around the same point in history may share common behaviors that they carry throughout their lives independent of age. Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, collected between 1982 and 2003, this study explores how at-home demand for fresh vegetables varies among members of younger and older cohorts. People born more recently are found to spend less money for fresh vegetables than older Americans do. Unless something happens to alter how the current young make food choices, they likely will exhibit a lower level of demand for at-home fresh vegetables in their later years than today’s older generations currently exhibit, all else constant. Changes in how people purchase and consume food may help to explain these effects.

Hayden Stewart
Gary Lucier
USDA Economic Research Service