Along with nutritional and health deterioration, the Covid-19 pandemic has altered people’s food shopping attitudes in addition to their eating patterns.
In the wake of disrupted food supplies caused by the coronavirus outbreak, consumers worldwide have been prompted to reconsider how and what they eat, as well as their purchase decisions.
As witnessed in several countries, Covid-19 was linked to fewer shopping trips and increased purchases per trip. The Sultanate of Oman is no exception.
“Given the perceived risk of shopping at a supermarket, consumers have decreased the number of grocery visits and purchased more on each visit to minimise their virus exposure”, reveals a new study.
Titled “Observations on food consumption behaviours during the Covid-19 Pandemic in Oman”, the study published by Frontiers in Public Health included a broad population of 356 adult consumers in Oman, and the respondents were invited to share the online poll with their friends and relatives.
Many questions were raised in the research about the influence of the Covid-19 pandemic on food-related activities, such as food shopping, cooking, diet, and waste.
As much as 84.2 per cent of the participants said that they go shopping less often than customary, while 39.6 per cent stated that they purchased more and much more quantity than usual on each shopping trip.
“As more people shop online to escape congested supermarkets, the digitisation of food retail is speeding fast. This supports a general trend in the GCC area, where online shopping has grown significantly since the pandemic’s beginning”, the authors of the study stated in the report.
At the same time, several respondents still bought food in person to check the quality and freshness of the items.
In addition, due to food safety concerns, the consumption of local food products rose. Concerns about the transmission of the virus grew with the pandemic and an increasing number of people want to know where their food originates from.
“A preference for local products was generated by the unfounded belief of consumers that imported items represent a safety concern”, the study found.
A locally produced item is thought to be handled fewer times and therefore has a higher perception of safety. It may also be related to the distribution of global food chains and the resulting lack in the provision stream of imported items. In fact, the pandemic and associated actions caused substantial distortions in the food supply chain via logistical interrupts and restricted access to markets for commodities.
There have been some modifications in food-related activities.
According to the findings, 56.1 per cent of the cohort ate out less, and 44.6 per cent ordered fewer take-out or fast food meals. Moreover, 54.2 per cent of those polled ate more with family members, 54.2 per cent cooked and prepared food much more frequently, 46.3 per cent cooked a lot, and 28.1 per cent ate more between meals.