Changes in the Food-Related Behaviour of Italian Consumers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Foods. 2021 Jan 15;10(1):169. doi: 10.3390/foods10010169.


The principal aim of this study is to explore the effects of the first lockdown of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on changes in food consumption and food-related behaviour on a diverse sample of Italian consumers aged ≥18 years. To achieve this aim, the research path starts with an investigation of some of the first few studies conducted on Italian consumers. It then reports the findings of a pilot survey carried out on a small sample of Italian consumes who live in Molise. The studies chosen for investigation were published as articles or research reports. In total, six relevant studies were chosen, each involving a different sized sample of Italian consumers. The average number of respondents is 2142, with a standard deviation of 1260.56. A distinction is made between the results of the articles, the research reports, and the pilot survey. The latter was conducted to develop and validate the components of a new questionnaire and, furthermore, to assess changes in the eating habits of individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results suggest that the effects of the pandemic on consumer behaviour can, above all, be grouped into changes related to shopping for food, eating habits, and food-related behaviour. This article can serve as the basis for future research in this area as it identifies and highlights key changes, in addition to comparing the earliest evidence available, using a critical approach.

Keywords: COVID-19; Italian consumers; daily lifestyle; eating habits; food consumption behaviour.