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Population-scale dietary interests during the COVID-19 pandemic

Kristina Gligorić (), Arnaud Chiolero, Emre Kıcıman, Ryen W. White and Robert West
Additional contact information
Kristina Gligorić: EPFL
Arnaud Chiolero: University of Fribourg
Emre Kıcıman: Microsoft Research, Redmond
Ryen W. White: Microsoft Research, Redmond
Robert West: EPFL

Nature Communications, 2022, vol. 13, issue 1, 1-14

Abstract: Abstract The SARS-CoV-2 virus has altered people’s lives around the world. Here we document population-wide shifts in dietary interests in 18 countries in 2020, as revealed through time series of Google search volumes. We find that during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic there was an overall surge in food interest, larger and longer-lasting than the surge during typical end-of-year holidays in Western countries. The shock of decreased mobility manifested as a drastic increase in interest in consuming food at home and a corresponding decrease in consuming food outside of home. The largest (up to threefold) increases occurred for calorie-dense carbohydrate-based foods such as pastries, bakery products, bread, and pies. The observed shifts in dietary interests have the potential to globally affect food consumption and health outcomes. These findings can inform governmental and organizational decisions regarding measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on diet and nutrition.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-28498-z

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