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Recession prepared many for rising food prices ahead

CHICAGO — U.S. consumers that opted to become more thrifty during the recession will face rising food costs with ease as they've mastered ways to stretch their money, according to new research by NPD.

The research group's Economy Tracker found that nearly 3-out-of-4 consumers (74%) strongly agreed that they expect coupons and special deals will be much more important in deciding what to buy, while 67% said that they would shop less in general and 53% said that they would be buying in bulk.

“During the recession, consumers adopted thriftier spending behaviors, and as time went on, they became comfortable with making concessions and getting by with less,” said Dori Hickey, director of product development at NPD and author of "What’s Next on the Road to Recovery." “At the height of the recession, consumers said they used coupons more, were stocking up on sale items, buying more private labels [and] shopping at discount stores more, among other money-saving strategies. With food prices rising and consumers experienced at getting the most from their food dollars, consumers are going to be increasing these types of behaviors once again.”

Mark East, president of the food and beverage unit at NPD, noted that manufacturers and retailers should "understand the shifts in consumers' attitudes and behaviors" amid rising food and gas prices.

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