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COVID-19 Drives Consumer Behaviour and Agro-Food Markets towards Healthier and More Sustainable Patterns

Valeria Borsellino (), Sina Ahmadi Kaliji and Emanuele Schimmenti ()
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Valeria Borsellino: Department of Agricultural, Food and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo, 90128 Palermo, Italy
Emanuele Schimmenti: Department of Agricultural, Food and Forest Sciences, University of Palermo, 90128 Palermo, Italy

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 20, 1-26

Abstract: This study examines the extant state of research into our understanding of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in its early stages on food-purchasing behaviour. As such, it includes a summary and categorisation of the findings, extending to consumption preferences worldwide. After the indiscriminate stockpiling of food, which was witnessed in many countries following the implementation of the lockdown, the impact of COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease-2019) on consumer habits has inversely varied in function of personal attitudes, individual and household experiences, and characteristics. Specific contexts, and the financial, economic, and logistic nature of these contexts, have also been found to be of relevance in examining the research relating to the coronavirus pandemic and food-purchasing behaviour. Concurrent with the pandemic, some worldwide trends have emerged—home cooking has been rediscovered, leading to an increase in the demand for staple foodstuffs, and purchases from small, local retailers and online food shopping have been accorded preferential treatment. Despite price volatility and concern about future household incomes, a significant proportion of consumers have shifted to buying healthier, more sustainable food. Moreover, food wastage has seen a notable decrease in volume. Such an occasion should be strategically exploited by manufacturers and retailers in satisfying this consumer demand. Finally, the COVID-19 crisis would seem to offer an unparalleled opportunity to re-engineer the agro-food market by driving the transition toward more sustainable supply and production patterns. Thus, stronger and more equitable partnerships between farmers, manufacturers, retailers, and citizens may be in the process of being forged.

Keywords: consumer behaviour; food purchasing behaviour; consumption preferences; domestic food waste; financial crisis; food supply chain (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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