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Survey suggests consumers will cut back on restaurant meals in response to inflation


Duluth, Ga. – Consumers anticipate cutting back on restaurant/take-out meals, food purchases and groceries, and other purchases in response to high inflation and concern about the ongoing international crisis, suggests a survey by Primerica Inc. of U.S. households that may reflect Canadian consumers behaviour.

Two-thirds of those surveyed say inflation already has or is likely to impact a major purchase decision, and many people are contemplating lifestyle shifts because of rising costs.

Primerica Inc., a provider of financial services in Canada and the United States, released the Middle-Income Financial Security Monitor for the first quarter of 2022 — a national survey that measures changes in the sentiments of middle-income families in the U.S. about their finances.

Sixty-one percent say they expect the ongoing international conflict will have at least some impact on their financial behaviour and decisions over the next few months. This concern mirrors a Gallup poll about inflation issues from 1946 following World War II, when supply-chain shortages and pent-up demand drove prices upward.

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“As we face the highest inflation levels in the past 40 years, it is critically important for middle-income families to understand how to budget, manage debt, save for the future and protect their incomes,” said Glenn J. Williams, CEO of Primerica. “These priorities compete for limited financial resources, making the need for professional guidance more important than ever.”

Key findings:

  • Increasing cost of goods and services. Families are seeing the impact of inflation all around them, with respondents noting increasing price tags on a variety of items. That includes groceries, gas, retail purchases, restaurants and bars, health care and subscriptions such as Netflix and Amazon. Of these, groceries and gas by far cause the most concern.
  • Most plan to cut back due to inflation. The primary items people anticipate cutting back on include restaurant/take-out meals (57 per cent), keeping current technology instead of upgrading (44 per cent), and budgeting food purchases or cutting back on groceries (37 per cent). Many are also looking at delaying a major purchase, with 40 per cent indicating they have already done so and another quarter (26 per cent) considering it.
  • Is the “Great Resignation” waning? One-quarter say they are at least somewhat likely to change jobs in the next year, a decline from the 33 per cent of respondents in December’s poll. People 18-34 years old were most likely to change jobs.