The Houston Business Journal reports that two out of three adults in the United States have changed their cooking and eating habits because of the economy, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Whole Foods Market Inc.

The annual Food Shopping Trends Tracker found that 51 percent of Americans are eating dinner at home more often, while 37 percent are budgeting food shopping trips more strictly.

But while people are looking to save, the survey also found that 76 percent are not willing to compromise on food quality, regardless of prices. Most people continue to purchase organic and natural foods the same as they once did, though 65 percent said they’d like to be able to get these foods within their budget.

“We recognize that shoppers should be able to cut costs, not corners when buying natural and organic foods,” said A.C. Gallo, co-president and chief operating officer for Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ: WFMI). “This research is in sync with what we are seeing right now with our customers.”

Of the respondents who said their grocery shopping habits have been affected by current food prices, 54 percent are using more coupons, 50 percent are more likely to comparison shop and 45 percent are more likely to buy private label/grocery store brands.

There’s also an issue of perception when it comes to grocery shopping. While 80 percent of respondents believe that grocery prices have generally increased over the last year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index for July shows that the food-at-home index declined for the seventh time in the past eight months for a total decline of 2.6 percent from its November 2008 peak.

Finally, of the 79 percent of respondents who say they regularly cook at home, 54 percent of those say they do so in order to save money. Twenty-two percent of respondents say they rarely or never cook.

The Houston Business Journal