School of Medical and Health Sciences / School of Business and Law
Edith Cowan University Internal Early Career Researcher Grant
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the Australian food supply through changed consumer purchasing patterns, and potentially, household food security. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of COVID-19 on the prevalence of food insecurity and food supply issues, and perspectives of food supply stakeholders in regional Australia. Methods: A mixed-methods consumer survey and in-depth interviews with food supply stakeholders were conducted in regional Australia, more specifically South West Western Australia between May and July 2020, immediately after the 1st wave of the pandemic. Results: The prevalence of food insecurity was 21% among consumers, and significantly more prevalent for those aged less than 30 years and living with a disability. Most consumers (73%) agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted the food supply. Food insecure respondents were more likely to report that food was more expensive, resulting in changes to the types and quantities of food bought. Food supply stakeholders perceived that consumers increased their intention to buy locally grown produce. Panic buying temporarily reduced the availability of food for both food suppliers and consumers, regardless of their food security status. Conclusions: This study provided novel insights from South West Australian consumer and food supply stakeholder perceptions. Food insecure consumers provided insights about the high cost of food and the subsequent adaptation of their shopping habits, namely type and amount of food purchased. Stakeholder perceptions largely focused on supply chain issues and corroborated consumer reports.
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Exercise, nutrition, lifestyle and other interventions for optimal health across the lifespan