Gendered Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Food Behaviors in North Africa: Cases of Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Feb 15;19(4):2192. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19042192.


The COVID-19 pandemic-related measures in the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region have resulted in many lifestyle modifications, including changes in diet and food buying patterns among adults. However, the pandemic has impacted women and men differently and exacerbated existing socio-economic and gender inequalities. Indeed, numerous studies conducted worldwide have shown that the COVID-19 pandemic had a disproportionately negative impact on women compared to males. Therefore, this paper aims to analyze the effects of COVID-19 on women's food behaviors in three countries of the North Africa sub-region, namely, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. The study was based on an online poll conducted by SurveyMonkey from 15 September to 5 November 2020, with 995 participants. The outcomes of the research found that when compared to men, (1) women tend to consume more food out of fear, anxiety, or boredom; (2) women prefer to eat more unhealthy food; (3) women tend to stockpile a greater amount of food; and (4) women tend to modify their shopping habits more often. The findings should inform gender-sensitive strategies and policies to address the negative impacts of the pandemic and foster transition towards healthier diets and resilient food systems during the recovery period.

Keywords: COVID-19; Egypt; Morocco; North Africa; SARS-CoV-2; Tunisia; food behavior; food consumption; food shopping; food waste; gender.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Africa, Northern / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Egypt / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morocco / epidemiology
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Tunisia / epidemiology