CHICAGO — Mothers with children under 18 years of age are collectively responsible for feeding 141 million people so it stands to reason they remain worried about rising food prices as they struggle to stay within a budget in today’s economy. The NPD Group’s new study, entitled "What’s on the Minds of Moms and How They’re Coping Today," finds the top concern among moms today is having enough money to meet their family’s needs. Most of these moms remain pessimistic about improvement in their situation — even as far as one year out.

Moms surveyed indicate they’re trying to save money on grocery purchases. The top strategies they are using are shopping at discount stores more often, buying less expensive brands, taking advantage of sales more often and stocking up, searching for lower prices in store circulars and choosing private-label brands more often.

"Even though moms are trying to save money on groceries, they still want meals that are easy and quick to prepare, and healthy, affordable options for themselves and their families," says Dori Hickey, product development director at NPD, author of the study and the mom of two teenage sons.

Moms with kids under 18 prepare 290 dinner meals annually, which totals 10.2 billion dinners prepared by moms in the U.S. each year, according to NPD’s National Eating Trends, which tracks the daily eating habits of Americans. Although mothers prepare dinner most nights, men in households without kids under 18 are more involved in dinner preparation than they are in households with kids under 18.

The NPD report profiles moms based on their experiences and personal characteristics, explores the concerns both new and experienced moms have and examines the challenges they face in raising their children. It also examines how involved children are in meal preparation, how much they influence the purchase of selected categories or brand choices within the category and what prompts requests for a specific brand among different age groups.