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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

New research: How the pandemic impacted food shopping behaviour

While grocery stores remained open as an essential business and thrived throughout the pandemic, this prosperity did not translate to a consistent and sufficient food supply for many customers.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: July 14, 2021 6:55:31 am
At a mandi in New Delhi (Express Photo/File)

The Covid-19 pandemic changed just about every aspect of normal life, including how people bought food.

While grocery stores remained open as an essential business and thrived throughout the pandemic, this prosperity did not translate to a consistent and sufficient food supply for many customers. Researchers have found that, on average, people went to the grocery store less frequently and spent more per trip during the pandemic.

Professor Ran Xu of the University of Connecticut’s College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, and collaborators recently published a paper in the journal Public Health that evaluated how perceived risk aversion, resource scarcity, and consumers’ food security status affected food procurement behaviours in the US. They found that like food-secure individuals, food-insecure individuals made fewer grocery shopping trips due to concerns about contracting Covid-19. But, unlike food-secure individuals, they did not increase spending per trip.

The team conducted the study in May 2020. They focused on food-insecure individuals who have considerable financial difficulty in procuring food. They measured food insecurity according to two measures from the US Department of Agriculture’s longer food insecurity survey. The researchers evaluated participants’ food shopping behaviours, such as visits to stores, frequency of trips, and average food expense. They compared these measures with their shopping experience before the pandemic.

Of the 2,500 respondents from around the country, food-secure individuals tended to spend more per trip. But food-insecure individuals could not prepare in the same way as they had much more constrained resources.

Source: University of Connecticut

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