Researchers from Teagasc and UCC are collaborating with the University of Antwerp and universities across the globe to create a new survey that studies the change in consumer habits before and after COVID-19.
The study will delve into consumer shopping, cooking and baking, eating and media habits and how much they have changed as a result of the worldwide pandemic.
Teagasc have reported that universities and research institutes from 28 countries have signed up to undertake this research, therefore allowing a comparison between Irish consumer habits and those of our European counterparts.
Professor Maeve Henchion, Head of Department of Agrifood Business and Spatial Analysis in Teagasc, commented on the new study, saying “Shopping behaviour has clearly changed as a result of social distancing with people spending more time queuing to get into shops for example.”
“However, questions remain, such as: how has this impacted on who does the shopping, the use of shopping lists, and preference for local suppliers?”
The study hopes to find out if consumers are using this spare time to hone their culinary skills, whether lack of time had been a barrier to cooking and baking on a regular basis and how much of an influence the internet is having on eating and cooking habits.
“Anecdotal evidence indicates a renewed interest in baking and more cooking from scratch. However, wine consumption and treating has also increased. So, while we might expect health motivations to increase in importance at this time, is this actually the case across all age groups?”
“This survey will enable us to quantify this and other changes in food-related behaviour and attitudes, and the international collaboration will enable us to see the difference in the impact of Covid19 restrictions on Irish consumers compared to others on an international basis.”
Help the farmer
Dr Sinead McCarthy, Department of Agrifood Business and Spatial Analysis in Teagasc, said that they expect that this survey can help both the producer and retailer to adapt to consumer patterns.
“Many of the changes we are seeing in consumer food-related behaviour and attitudes are temporary, but some will be more permanent in nature. We need to understand this now to help Irish farmers, food producers and retailers adapt to the post-Covid19 context,” she concluded.
If you wish to take part in this survey, click here.