Research Topic

The Effects of the COVID-19 Outbreak on Food Supply, Dietary Patterns, Nutrition and Health: Volume 1

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The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has affected populations across the world. In a short time we were exposed to a critical situation, faced with numerous medical, social and economic challenges. While the medical community has focused on developing successful diagnostic and medical treatments, many countries ...

The COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak has affected populations across the world. In a short time we were exposed to a critical situation, faced with numerous medical, social and economic challenges. While the medical community has focused on developing successful diagnostic and medical treatments, many countries have introduced far-reaching restrictions on daily life to prevent and control the spread of the virus. In many cases, this resulted in a complete shut-down of whole cities, regions, and even countries. The resulting changes to working patterns (e.g. extended working hours, loss of jobs) and living circumstances have had a large impact on the supply, purchase, preparation and consumption of food.

Typical measures included limiting social and physical interactions, closing schools, hotels, restaurants and other non-critical infrastructure, encouraging people to work from home, limiting the operation of food stores (including the ability for adequate inspection and enforcement activity to take place), and also limiting people's ability to leave their home. Many international borders were closed, which limited the supply of goods, including food. In some areas food supply chains were completely broken or drastically changed with food business operators needing to adopt new business models, e.g. suppliers reorienting themselves to new markets, increases in need for delivery. Supplying food also presents possible risks for infection, both environmentally (i.e. in food stores) or through contaminated foods/packaging. Changes in purchase patterns e.g. bulk buying of perishable foods may lead to use of food that is no longer safe or sub-optimal in terms of nutrient content, stockpiling has led to certain foods being in very limited supply. Increased demand of certain products may result in inability to maintain levels of supply. The communication about food by governments, public health authorities, individual experts and influencers, using a wide variety of media channels is an integral element of COVID-19 information exchange has also increased, ranging from the sharing of information as to how to cope with changed food availability, to risks associated with purchase, storage and consumption of food.

The measures to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19 and their outcomes had a profound effect on the food supply, dietary patterns and nutrition of billions of people, raising a number of research questions. The goal of this Research Topic is to provide insights into the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on food supply, nutrition and dietary patterns, and outcomes of these changes. Welcome subtopics include (but are not limited to):
· The effect of COVID-19 on eating behavior and dietary practices
· The effect of COVID-19 on the food supply
· Short-term and long-term changes in diets due to COVID-19
· Changes in food preparation, access to (healthy) food, food preparation, meal patterns, etc. due to COVID-19
· Identification and perception of new food (supply) related risks
· Reasons behind consumer responses and influencing factors
· Evaluation of insecurities and risks in the food chain
· Trust in the food supply chain and food safety


Keywords: COVID-19; eating behaviour, dietary intake, risk identification and perception, food supply, food safety, food security, food practices


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