Research conducted for Woolworths by Bernard Salt of KPMG showed that Australians’ shopping habits have changed significantly over the past 25 years. Just 35% of an average family’s food budget is spent on the main weekly shop – and that primary shopping day is increasingly likely to be Sunday, not Saturday. The research also linked stay-at-home adult children to higher household food spending and cast light on the changing contents of the trolley.

The study, called Trolley Trends,  included analysis of statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Household Expenditure Surveys and Censuses of Population and Housing, and the Reserve Bank of Australia, along with analysis of  the shopping habits, trends and spending of 9500 Woolworths Everyday Rewards members over a 24-month period ending 31 July 2013.

In introducing the study, Tjeerd Jegen, Managing Director of Woolworths Supermarkets, said: “Food shopping is a reality for almost every Australian and offers a unique way of tracking the changes in their lives. With more than 19 million customers shopping at a Woolworths store every week, the trends that we see at the checkout provide a clear indicator of who we are as a nation.”

While the study found that Australians were earning two and a half times more than they were 25 years ago, the percentage of income we were spending on food had fallen by three percentage points. Food was the  largest item in the budget in 1984, but in this study came second behind housing costs, which consumed the largest share of income at 18%.

In 2013 Australians are eating less meat, fewer potatoes and more fruit and vegetables than in the mid ’80s.  We’re eating out more than ever, with 31% of our food dollars spent on restaurants, takeaway or school lunches – up nine percentage points from 1984.

The study was initially available on the Woolworths website but has since been removed. A summary of some of the main findings can be found here.