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      A time of transition: changes in Irish food behaviour and potential implications due to the COVID-19 pandemic

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          Abstract

          Consumers’ food choice decisions are generally relatively stable over time; consumers engage in habitual decision-making due to the high frequency of such decisions for efficiency reasons. As a result, habits are strong predictors of eating behaviour. However, changes in the life of the individual or the external environment can result in more conscious consideration of food choice motives and a transition to new patterns of behaviour to fit the new context. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is examined in this paper as a particularly useful case of how a change in context affects food choice trajectories. Drawing on results from an online survey of 651 food consumers in Ireland, it examines food planning, shopping, preparation and eating behaviour, including stockpiling and influences on decision-making. Overall, it finds significant evidence of a transition towards new patterns of behaviours, with two distinct clusters identified – the “Covid copers” and the “restless restrictors”. For both groups, the shopping experience has become stressful resulting in reduced frequency of shopping and higher levels of planning. Conversely, time pressures related to cooking have reduced, with enjoyment associated with such activities. This is also reflected in stockpiling behaviour; the top three foods most likely to have been stockpiled in Ireland were pasta/rice, eggs and flour, reflecting the nation’s desire to bake and cook during the pandemic. These behaviours are discussed in the context of emerging supply chain actor responses, with considerations for future strategic decisions identified, along with some opportunities for public health nutrition interventions.

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          Most cited references 16

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          Eating habits and lifestyle changes during COVID-19 lockdown: an Italian survey

          Background On December 12th 2019, a new coronavirus (SARS-Cov2) emerged in Wuhan, China, sparking a pandemic of acute respiratory syndrome in humans (COVID-19). On the 24th of April 2020, the number of COVID-19 deaths in the world, according to the COVID-Case Tracker by Johns Hopkins University, was 195,313, and the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases was 2,783,512. The COVID-19 pandemic represents a massive impact on human health, causing sudden lifestyle changes, through social distancing and isolation at home, with social and economic consequences. Optimizing public health during this pandemic requires not only knowledge from the medical and biological sciences, but also of all human sciences related to lifestyle, social and behavioural studies, including dietary habits and lifestyle. Methods Our study aimed to investigate the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on eating habits and lifestyle changes among the Italian population aged ≥ 12 years. The study comprised a structured questionnaire packet that inquired demographic information (age, gender, place of residence, current employment); anthropometric data (reported weight and height); dietary habits information (adherence to the Mediterranean diet, daily intake of certain foods, food frequency, and number of meals/day); lifestyle habits information (grocery shopping, habit of smoking, sleep quality and physical activity). The survey was conducted from the 5th to the 24th of April 2020. Results A total of 3533 respondents have been included in the study, aged between 12 and 86 years (76.1% females). The perception of weight gain was observed in 48.6% of the population; 3.3% of smokers decided to quit smoking; a slight increased physical activity has been reported, especially for bodyweight training, in 38.3% of respondents; the population group aged 18–30 years resulted in having a higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet when compared to the younger and the elderly population (p < 0.001; p < 0.001, respectively); 15% of respondents turned to farmers or organic, purchasing fruits and vegetables, especially in the North and Center of Italy, where BMI values were lower. Conclusions In this study, we have provided for the first time data on the Italian population lifestyle, eating habits and adherence to the Mediterranean Diet pattern during the COVID-19 lockdown. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, our data need to be confirmed and investigated in future more extensive population studies.
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            Short screening scales to monitor population prevalences and trends in non-specific psychological distress

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              Habit, Attitude, and Planned Behaviour: Is Habit an Empty Construct or an Interesting Case of Goal-directed Automaticity?

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                ijafr
                Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research
                Compuscript (Ireland )
                0791-6833
                13 May 2021
                Affiliations
                1Teagasc Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin 15, Ireland
                2Dept of Marketing, Cork University Business School, University College Cork, Ireland
                Author notes
                †Corresponding author: M. Henchion, E-mail: maeve.henchion@ 123456teagasc.ie
                Article
                10.15212/ijafr-2020-0131
                Copyright © 2021 Henchion, McCarthy and McCarthy

                This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 IE.

                Page count
                Tables: 6, References: 17, Pages: 12
                Product
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                Original Study

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