NEW YORK – U.S. consumers are making significant changes in their supermarket shopping as they tighten their budgets during the country's economic troubles, according to research

conducted by GfK for the Private Label Manufacturers Association. The report, "Store Brands and the Recession," was based on GfK's nationwide poll of nearly 800 main household grocery shoppers taken last month.

The research concluded:

* More than 30% of consumers polled say they are now "buying more store brand products" compared to a year ago.

* Nearly three out of four say current economic conditions are "important" in deciding to buy more private label.

* The percentage of consumers who say that they buy private label "frequently" has increased to 55% from 41% in 2006 and 12% in 1991.

Consumers are also going beyond traditional supermarkets for their main grocery shopping and visiting more stores to get the lowest prices, the report indicates. Approximately 50% of respondents say they expect to prepare and eat more meals at home.

The full report can be downloaded at

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