The upward trend in the prices of basic goods has changed the eating habits of most Greeks, who are increasingly turning to cheap and unhealthy food.
Geopolitical events, shrinking incomes and inflationary pressures, combined with rising energy and transport prices, are further tightening the belt and pushing consumers into new shopping habits. In this context, the inhabitants of the country reduce their expenses, choosing fewer and cheaper products.
A nationwide survey conducted by Ierax Analytics between May 20 and May 26, 2022 on 1,017 people examines the extent to which the increase in staple food prices over the past six months has affected eating habits, increasing the consumption of unhealthy and cheap foods.
As the head of Ierax Analytix, Haris Lalatsis, notes in APE-MPE, “the price increases significantly affected the eating habits of the majority of respondents (75%), who have been affected more than people over 50 years old.
Increased consumption of less healthy foods
According to Mr. Lalatsis, the financial situation of the consumer household plays an important role in eating habits. In particular, 41% of those who are financially well off were not affected at all by price increases.
Also important is the fact that 41% say they consume less healthy foods than they did six months ago. This indicates a large deviation from healthy and fresh foods (vegetables, fruits) according to Mr. Lalatsis. 16% buy more junk food and therefore consume more empty calories than before.
It is worth noting that 66% of respondents in the last six months buy less food due to inflation, which is observed mainly in the category of people over 50 (75%), while the corresponding percentage of young people aged 18-30 is 57%. At the same time, the economic situation plays an important role in the amount of food that citizens buy, as 93% of those who can no longer buy less food. It is observed that now they buy less fresh products than those who are in a more prosperous financial situation.
In addition, 67% of respondents, compared to the previous semester, are now more attentive to price tags. Of course, with age it seems that the respondents feel it more. Even those who are financially prosperous now look at prices more carefully than before (75%). It seems to have had a big impact on those who have financial problems.
The Greeks turned to more “dangerous” products for health
Equally important is the fact that 32% of respondents said they are now less interested in food quality than in the previous six months. This means that 1/3 deviates from the criterion of food quality and therefore changes to unhealthy (junk food, junk food, empty calories).
“When two burgers cost half as much as a salad of fresh vegetables, we understand what the consumer will choose to ‘eat, satisfy hunger,'” says Lalacis, adding: “Overweight people in America are not rich at all. but usually those in the lower economic strata of society. “
An Ierax Analytics study shows the first warning signs of this shift from fresh to unhealthy foods. “While fruits and vegetables are more affordable in Greece, almost half say they buy less healthy food than they did six months ago. “What will be the picture in a year, if prices continue to rise?” – says the expert.
2/3 of consumers look more at the price of products and turn their attention from the label and ingredients to the cost. In this way, however, they ignore the low nutritional value of the foods they choose and end up consuming empty calories.
“It should be noted that 66% have reduced the amount of food they bought before. People have limited their diet and therefore do not get the calories and nutrients they need. “Unfortunately, the negative consequences for the health system will be visible in the coming years”, stressed Mr. Lalatsis.