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Who changed food consumption behavior after the COVID-19 pandemic? Empirical analysis of Japanese household spending panel data

Shigeru Matsumoto and Thunehiro Otsuki

No e173, Working Papers from Tokyo Center for Economic Research

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences in our daily lives. After the pandemic, we were forced to stay at home, which significantly impacted food consumption behavior. People reduced their consumption of food-away-from-home (FAFH) but increased their consumption of food-at-home (FAH) and food delivery services (FDS). This study aims to demonstrate how food consumption behavior has changed after the COVID-19 outbreak. For this purpose, we analyze the household spending panel data obtained from Macromill, Inc. The data set includes biweekly food spending data from 1,448 households living in Tokyo, Tokai, and Kinki areas. Using the data, we compare household food spending for FAFH, FAH, and FDS before and after the COVID-19 outbreak. Although people shifted from FAFH to FAH and FDS on average following the COVID-19 outbreak, the intensity of the shift varies between sampling periods. Empirical results show that during the state of emergency (the first wave), the average household decreased FAFH expenditure by about 2% year-on-year but increased FDS expenditure by about 1.3%. We further investigate how the intensity of the transition from FAFH to FAH varies across households. Both single-person and single-parent households continued to rely on FAFH after the pandemic, whereas households with parents and children shifted more aggressively from FAFH to FAH than remaining households. These findings suggest that even during the COVID-19 pandemic, households with severe time constraints (single-person households and single-parent households) could not allocate time for meal preparation.

Pages: 31 pages
Date: 2022-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr and nep-hea
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