Survey: 85% Say Pandemic Changed Their Eating

June 12, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has made profound changes in the way Americans eat, according to the IFIC's annual survey.

The coronavirus pandemic has made profound changes in the way Americans eat, according to the annual Food & Health Survey of the International Food Information Council (IFIC).

In the 15th year of the survey, 85% of Americans have made at least some change in the food they eat or how they prepare it. Respondents say they’re cooking at home more (60%) and snacking more (32%).

COVID-19 has leapfrogged the pack when it comes to food-safety concerns. Of the consumers surveyed by IFIC, 24% said COVID was now their No. 1 food safety concerns, ahead of foodborne illness, carcinogens and other chemicals.

However, another IFIC survey found substantial erosion in safety practices, such as washing hands after trips to the grocery store, in May compared to April.

“Whether these particular impacts of the pandemic are only temporary remains to be seen,” said Joseph Clayton, president and CEO of IFIC. “But it’s hard to think of another recent event that has had such far-reaching effects, and in such a short period, on how we purchase, prepare and consume foods and beverages.”

Parents, many of whom are or were stuck at home with their children, were especially likely to report a change in eating habits: 41% said they were snacking more since the pandemic shutdown, compared to 29% of non-parents. And 26% reported consuming caffeine with lunch, compared to 15% of those without children.

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