National Food Study
ERS's National Food Study (FoodAPS) will provide unique and detailed data about household food choices that are not available from any other survey. FoodAPS is a nationally representative survey of household food purchases and acquisitions. Detailed information will be collected about foods purchased for consumption at home and away from home as well as foods acquired through food and nutrition assistance programs (both public and private).
The data collection effort will yield information not previously available to researchers, thereby broadening the scope of economic analyses of food choices and what those choices mean for diet quality. The survey will be designed, field tested, and launched over 2009-2014.
In September 2009, ERS and its co-sponsor-the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)-contracted with Mathematica Policy Research (MPR) to undertake the National Food Study. A field test was conducted in 2011, and the main survey is currently in the field. MPR has established a website to communicate key information about the study for participants, including the legitimacy and importance of the study.
Key Research Questions
The survey will examine the following issues:
- How do economic factors (such as prices and income) and demographic characteristics impact household food purchase decisions and the nutritional value of food acquisitions?
- What is the influence of nutrition knowledge on food purchases?
- How does participation in food and nutrition assistance programs influence food purchases?
- How do economic dynamics, demographic factors, and food and nutrition assistance programs influence the ability of low-income households to consistently access sufficient food for a healthy lifestyle?
- How do access and retail outlet choice and location influence food purchases and the resulting nutritional quality of food acquisitions?
Data to be Collected
The survey will collect information from up to 3,500 low-income and 1,500 higher income households about:
- Quantities, prices, and expenditures for all at-home and away-from-home foods and beverages purchased and acquired from all sources;
- Nutritional value of foods purchased and acquired;
- Eating occasions by household members;
- Household characteristics, including income, program participation, non-food expenditures, food security, health status, and diet and nutrition knowledge; and
- Household access to food, including location of purchase and distance to outlets