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Our paper examines the great recession’s impact on households’ food-at-home (FAH) purchase decisions. Specifically, we test if the percentage of consumers’ FAH shopping baskets comprised of healthy food, as defined by the Center for Nutrition and Policy Promotion (CNPP), changed significantly as a result of the great recession. Controlling for a number of covariates associated with economic downturns, as well as rigorous household characteristics, we identify that the recession was responsible for a 4-8% increase in the dietary quality of U.S. grocery purchases. The finding is robust to specification and raises several important questions regarding consumer behavior.


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