Consumer Data and Nutrition Research


To provide economic and other social science information and analysis for public and private decisions on agriculture, food, natural resources, and rural America. ERS produces such information for use by the general public and to help the executive and legislative branches develop, administer, and evaluate agricultural and rural policies and programs.

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Economic Research Service, Department of Agriculture
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
B - Project Grants; L - Dissemination of Technical Information
Program Accomplishments
Not applicable.
ACT: FY 2012 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, Public Law 109-97, 7 U.S.C. 292, 411, 427, 1441a, 1621-1627, 1704, 1761-68, 2201, 2202, 3103, 3291, 3311, 3504; 22 U.S.C. 3101; 42 U.S.C. 1891-93; 44 U.S.C. 3501-11; 50 U.S.C. 2061 et seq, 2251 et seq. 2 CFR Part 400, 2 CFR Part 415, 2 CFR Part 416, 7USC 3318c
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
Any individual or organization in the U.S. and U.S. Territories is eligible to receive the popular or technical research publications that convey the research results, although there may be a fee.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Any individual or organization in the U.S. and U.S. Territories is eligible to receive the popular or technical research publications that convey the research results, although there may be a fee.
Not applicable.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is not applicable.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. Requests for technical information may be made to the Chief, Publishing and Communications Branch, Economic Research Service (ERS), 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20520-1800.
Award Procedure
Not applicable.
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
Not applicable.
How may assistance be used?
ERS performs economic research and analyses related to U.S. and world agriculture that address a multitude of economic concerns and decision making needs of Federal, State, and local governments, farmers, farm organizations, farm suppliers, marketers, processors, and consumers. There are no restrictions on the use of ERS produced information. The objective of the consumer data program is to enhance existing public and private data collection systems and availability to answer the most important policy questions. This objective is achieved by: (1) supplementing existing government surveys with separate modules when possible, (2) integrating and linking data from disparate surveys, (3) investing in proprietary data, and (4) enhancing existing surveys.
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Performance Reports: Progress reports, financial reports, financial statements, and inventions and subawards reports. The frequency of reports is outlined in the terms of the agreement.
Financial records, supporting documents, statistical records, and all other records pertinent to an award shall be retained for a period of 3 years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report or, for awards that are renewed quarterly or annually, from the date of the submission of the quarterly or annual financial report, as authorized by the Federal awarding agency.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
Other Other
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Lynell Doane
805 Pennsylvania Avenue
Kansas City, MO 64105 USA
Phone: (816) 610-2445
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Cooperative Agreements) FY 22$170,873.00; FY 23 est $650,000.00; FY 24 est $0.00; FY 21$0.00; FY 19$1,228,467.00; FY 20 est $2,469,642.00; FY 18$1,604,284.00; FY 17$1,100,000.00; FY 16$1,074,282.00; - (Project Grants) FY 22$0.00; FY 23 est $0.00; FY 24 est $0.00; FY 21$95,000.00; FY 19$71,908.00; FY 20 est $394,996.00; FY 18$149,900.00; FY 17$2,700,000.00; FY 16$2,691,366.00; -
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Not applicable/available.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Not applicable.
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2016 ERS will identify key economic issues affecting food prices, food access and availability, food consumption patterns, and food safety. ERS will use sound analytical techniques to understand the immediate and long-term efficiency, efficacy, and equity consequences of alternative policies and programs aimed at ensuring access by children and adults to safe, nutritious, affordable, and adequate meals. ERS ongoing research will also explore factors that can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of USDA Food and Nutrition Assistance programs. ERS will effectively communicate research results to policy makers, program managers, and those shaping efforts to promote abundant, safe, and healthful food at home and abroad. Examples of these activities include the following: • Providing economic analysis of the food marketing system to understand factors affecting the availability and affordability of food for American consumers. • Providing annual estimates of the quantity of food available for human consumption, and measures of disappearance and loss in the food system. • Providing economic analysis of how people make food choices, including demands for more healthful, nutritious, and safer food, and of the determinants of those choices, including prices, income, education, and socio-economic characteristics. • Conducting analyses of the benefits and costs of policies to change behavior to improve diet and health, including nutrition education, labeling, advertising, and regulation. • Conducting economic analyses of the impacts of the Nation’s domestic nutrition assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; and the Child Nutrition Programs. • Conducting research on food program targeting and delivery to gauge the success of programs aimed at needy and at-risk population groups, and to identify program gaps and overlaps. • Conducting research on program dynamics and administration, focusing on how program needs change with local labor market conditions, economic growth and recession, and how changing State welfare programs interact with food and nutrition programs. • Conducting food safety economics research, with the goal of providing a science-based approach to valuing food safety risk reduction, assessing industry costs of food safety practices, and understanding the interrelated roles of government policy and market incentives in enhancing food safety. • Providing decision makers and the public with food safety information through publications, web materials, and briefings that address the economics of food safety, including consumer knowledge and behavior, industry practices, the relationship between international trade and food safety, and government policies and regulations. • Working with Federal food safety agency partners to evaluate available food borne illness data related to meat, poultry and egg products, and to develop more accurate measures of the effectiveness of regulatory strategies in reducing preventable food borne illness. • Building food-price and food-consumption databases to provide a basis for analyzing the impacts of food policy. --Assessing Alternative Methods for Measuring Food Security Among Households with Children -- Understanding Produce Purchasing Behavior, Obesity, and BMI: Empirical Results from IRI Household Panel and Med Profiler Data -- Local Market Structure, Store Characteristics, and Performance among Independent Grocers -- Effect of Retail Market Structure and other Food Environment Characteristics on the Healthfulness of Consumer Food Purchases --Consumer Preferences for Costly Brands and Products: Implications for Cost Containment in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program -- Does the amount of SNAP benefits influence food choices and expenditures? -- The effects of pricing strategies on the nutritional quality of food purchases by SNAP and non-SNAP households -- Community Eligibility Provision Take-Up by Rural vs. Urban School Districts and Effects on School Meal Participation and Student attendance -- Summer Meal Program participation by Rural vs. Urban School Districts -- SNAP and Child Health: Evidence from Missouri Administrative Data -- The Fill-In Trip Purchase Decision by SNAP and WIC Participants: An Analysis of Pricing, Nutrition, and Store Choices -- Does inclusion on the WIC food list expand placement of food brands? -- Performance Indicators of WIC Vendor Quality and Participant Satisfaction -- Funding Research on Food Security Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics -- Exploring ways to increase healthy purchases within shoppersÆ and retailersÆ budget constraints -- Health Outcomes and Redemption Behaviors among Virginia WIC Participants -- Changes in Low-Income HouseholdsÆ Spending Patterns in Response to the 2013 SNAP Benefit Cut -- Understanding the Statistical Properties of IRI Store-based and House-based Scanner Data -- Expert Technical Panel on Technical Questions and Data Gaps in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability (LAFA) Data Series -- Expanding the Impact of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs -- Consumer Level Food Loss: An Update of Estimates for Cooking Loss and Uneaten Food at the Consumer Level -- FoodAPS-2 Geography Study
Fiscal Year 2020 ERS conducts research on the economic forces influencing consumer food choices and the effect of these choices on nutrition and health outcomes. To understand these relationships, ERS examines the interactions between factors such as food prices, grocery store accessibility, food labeling, household income, and household composition. Market and industry level factors examined include product offerings by firms, changes in store types and store formats, firm and consumer reactions to food safety incidences, and the role of government programs and the food system as a whole in the macro-economy. ERS analyzes USDA’s food and nutrition assistance programs, often coordinating research priorities with USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. These programs receive substantial Federal funding and affect the daily lives of millions of America’s children. Long-term research themes include food security outcomes, dietary and nutritional outcomes, food program targeting and delivery, and measurement of program participation. ERS food safety research focuses on enhancing methodologies for valuing societal benefits associated with reducing food safety risks, understanding consumer and producer responses to food safety incidents, assessing industry incentives to enhance food safety through new technologies and supply chain linkages, and evaluating regulatory options and change. ERS research also investigates the safety of food imports and the efficacy of international food safety policies and practices. Selected Examples of Recent Progress are the following: An estimated 88.9 percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2018, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (11.1 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the year, including 4.3 percent with very low food security because the household lacked money and other resources for food, resulting in reduced food intake and disruptions in eating patterns for one or more household members. The 2018 prevalence of food insecurity declined, for the first time, to the pre-recession (2007) level of 11.1 percent. The decline in overall food security between 2017 and 2018 was statistically significant. The decline in rate of very low food security from 4.5 percent in 2017 to 4.3 percent in 2018 was not statistically significant. Children and adults were food insecure in 7.1 percent of U.S. households with children in 2018, versus 7.7 percent in 2017. The ERS food security statistics are widely recognized as the benchmark for measuring food security in the U.S., and support decision making on USDA food and nutrition assistance programs. The authors briefed senior USDA officials on the report’s findings and presented a webinar to field press inquiries and related interest that the report generated. SNAP benefits spent during an economic downturn provide income to the businesses where those benefits are spent, as well as to their employees and suppliers, whose spending further stimulates the economy. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one of the largest assistance programs in the United States—the U.S. Department of Agriculture spent $65.3 billion on the program in fiscal year 2018 and served an average of 40.3 million people per month. ERS researchers estimated the multiplier effects of SNAP using a newly compiled Social Accounting Matrix multiplier model and the most recent data available. The study estimated that $1 billion in SNAP benefit outlays generates $1.5 billion in gross domestic product, which supports 13,560 new jobs—including $32 million added income going to agricultural industries that support 480 agricultural jobs. Higher levels of breastfeeding would raise WIC program costs, but reduce current and future health-related costs for mothers and infants participating in WIC. ERS researchers examined the effects of a hypothetical increase in breastfeeding rates among WIC participants from their 2016 levels to medically recommended levels: 90 percent of infants are exclusively breastfed for their first 6 months, followed by continued breastfeeding with the addition of complementary foods—but not infant formula—for the next 6 months. Results indicate that the number of mothers who participated in WIC that year would have increased by an estimated 646,000 per month (an 8-percent increase). WIC program costs would have risen by an estimated $252.4 million, or 4.2 percent of total costs in 2016. As a result of health benefits associated with breastfeeding, Federal Medicaid costs would have decreased by at least $111.6 million, resulting in an estimated increase of $140.9 million in combined Federal WIC and Medicaid costs. Health-related cost savings that accrue to WIC households or their health insurance providers would have totaled $9.0 billion (excluding the savings that accrue to the Federal portion of Medicaid). Nutrition information on restaurant menus may help some consumers meet their calorie targets. ERS researchers examined survey data on restaurant menu label use and calorie intakes among U.S. adults age 20 and older who reported seeing nutrition information on a menu the last time they visited a fast-food or sit-down restaurant. Survey respondents who reported seeing and using restaurant menu labels consumed significantly fewer calories per day than did respondents who reported seeing the labels, but not using them. The relationship between menu label use and caloric intake was similar for both fast-food and sit-down restaurants and was statistically significant in both cases.