U OF ILLINOIS RESEARCHERS RELEASE RESULTS OF STUDY "HOUSEHOLD FOOD ACQUISITION BEHAVIORS DURING COVID-19"
Nov. 2, 2020
Source: U of Illinois news release
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The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many of consumers' everyday behaviors, including how they get food. The extent to which an individual's behavior changes is likely dependent on many factors. In this article, we'll explore how geographic region and political affiliation may be associated with differences in food acquisition behaviors.
The geographic region in which an individual lives can impact food acquisition options based on how that region is choosing to operate during the pandemic - in particular, how restaurants are allowed to operate (e.g., restrictions on indoor dining, capacity constraints). In addition, the prevalence of Covid-19 cases in a region is also likely to influence the food acquisition activities in which consumers are willing to engage.
Political affiliation may also influence food acquisition behaviors given the increasingly sharp divide among political leaders on the extent to which Americans need to take precautions to help slow the spread of the virus. In the current political environment, if Covid-19 has evolved into a partisan issue, households with different political ideologies may be more or less willing to engage in certain food acquisition activities.
Survey Design and Sample Characteristics
To investigate household food acquisition behaviors, we conducted an online survey with approximately 1,000 U.S. consumers in mid-September, 2020. Our sample was recruited to be representative of the U.S. population in terms of gender, age, income, and geographic region. In addition, to be included in the sample, respondents had to do at least 50% of the grocery shopping for their household to ensure each person had a primary role in food acquisition decisions in their household.
For this article, our primary question of interest is: "In the last 14 days, have you completed any of the following activities?" The food acquisition activities that we asked consumers about were:
• Shopped for groceries in person
• Shopped for groceries online
• Ordered from a meal kit service (e.g., Blue Apron, Hello Fresh)
• Ordered take-out from a restaurant
• Ate at a restaurant and sat indoors
• Ate at a restaurant and sat outdoors
• Visited a food bank
• Visited a farmer's market
• For each activity, respondents could indicate Yes, No, or I don't remember.
Food Acquisition Activities across All Households
Figure 1 shows the extent to which U.S. households engaged in each food acquisition activity in the last two weeks (which would be approximately the first 2 weeks of September this year).