Social distancing mandates and the subsequent economic disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic all caused unprecedented changes in where, how, and what food U.S. consumers purchased and acquired. To better understand these changes, with a focus on the implications for LRFS, a team of researchers conducted a national survey of over 5,000 households in the fall of 2020. The survey provides important insights into how the pandemic changed the way that U.S. households made food choices and if some of the changes may be sustained post pandemic for their household. This Food Consumer Insights series provides information about what we learned to help guide businesses along local and regional supply chains.
The survey was conducted online from mid-October to mid-November 2020 through Qualtrics, with quotas set to ensure a demographically balanced sample, with the exception of gender. A variety of demographic and COVID-related questions were asked to capture food behavior trends, including:1) purchases of food through a variety of market channels, 2) use of online platforms, 3) motivations to choose various food channels, 4) confidence and values aligned with various food issues and institutions.