Purpose: To investigate dairy and plant-based dairy alternatives (DPBDA) purchasing habits, including comparisons among locations of purchase and among subtypes of DPBDA, of families with preschool-aged children.
Methods: Expenditures on food and DPBDA were calculated using grocery and food receipts collected for 3 weeks from 51 households in and around Guelph, Ontario, Canada. DPBDA were coded by subtypes (alternatives, cheese/yogurt, cow’s milk, cream, and ice cream/other) and by locations of purchase, which were coded as big-box, discount, high-end, local/other, and midrange stores. Logistic regression using generalized estimating equations was used to investigate odds of purchasing DPBDA by location of purchase. All models included family income and number of children as potential confounders.
Results: Ninety-eight percent of families purchased cheese/yogurt, 92% purchased cow’s milk, and 35% of families purchased plant-based dairy alternatives. Families were more likely to purchase DPBDA from big-box stores than discount, midrange, or local/other stores (P < 0.01) and were more likely to purchase cheese/yogurt than dairy alternatives, cream, or ice cream/other subtypes (P < 0.01). Odds of purchasing were not different between cheese/yogurt and cow’s milk.
Conclusion: Families’ DPBDA purchasing habits differ by purchase location and subtype. Further research is warranted to understand the factors affecting these purchasing habits.