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NIHR Obesity Policy Research Unit at UCL

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Longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the dietary purchasing choices of British households

Title

Longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the dietary purchasing choices of British households, particularly families. 

Purpose

The proposed research aims to quantify how households’ food purchasing has evolved throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and how this has varied across different types of households. In particular, we will: 1) Document impacts of the pandemic on the nutritional composition of shopping baskets and look at changes in composite measures of nutrition as well as in important nutrients such as saturated fat, sugar and sodium. 2) Analyse whether changes documented in 2021 were a temporary response to the pandemic, or whether these changes have persisted. 3) Focus on changes in dietary choices among households with children and explore how diets differ for families at different points in the income distribution.

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic had an enormous impact on nutritional choices of people’s lives. What is currently not known is the extent to which these changes translate to changes in the nutritional composition of the shopping basket, or whether the changes observed during 2020 persisted through the following year.

Aims and methodology

We will use the Kantar Worldpanel and the Living Costs and Food Survey (LCFS) to track household purchases (into the home and out of home) and their nutritional composition throughout the COVID pandemic and up to April 2022.

Timing

April 2023