Effects of Package Size on Household Food Purchases

Metin Çakır, Joseph V. Balagtas, Abigail M. Okrent, Mariana Urbina-Ramirez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This article analyzes household food purchase behavior in response to changes in product package size. In particular, we exploit food manufacturer package downsizing strategy and design a difference-in-difference analysis to track shifts in household purchase volume in affected and comparison product groups before and after package size changes. We use UPC-level purchase data from a panel of households over a seven-year period for analysis. Our empirical approach overcomes two important limitations of the extant literature: it (i) accounts for determinants of purchase behavior and (ii) produces results that elucidate the long-term effects of package size changes. The main finding is that, on average, smaller package size significantly reduces household purchase volume, which indicates a positive correlation between package size and food-at-home consumption. The results also show that downsizing does not have a significant effect on the purchase volume of non-downsized products and on the number of packages purchased. The implications of the results for policy and potential interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank anonymous referees and the editor, Craig Gundersen, for their valuable comments. All errors are our own. The findings and conclusions in this publication are those of the author(s) and should not be construed to represent any official USDA or US Government determination or policy. This research has been supported by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Hatch grant number 1013993


  • Consumer behavior
  • Difference-in-difference
  • Food consumption
  • Package downsizing
  • Package size

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of Package Size on Household Food Purchases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this