Gender, Food and the Pandemic

Aug. 12, 2021

Men's and women's different reactions to food during lockdown.

During the pandemic, which gender bore the brunt of stress relating to meals and nutrition?

I think your chance of answering that question correctly is considerably more than 50%. But in case you need help, here comes Murphy Research with a new report: “2021 State of Our Health: COVID One Year On: How Americans Adapted and How They Want to Move Forward,”

The report is based on monthly online surveys backed up with 75-minute Zoom interviews conducted in March, at the pandemic’s height. It’s more or less as advertised, but I was fascinated by the first section: “Eating at Home, All the Time.” It compared the food-related reactions of men and women to lockdown.

Key takeaways, verbatim from the report:

  • Only women actually cooked at home more; men’s cooking remained similar to pre-pandemic.
  • Instead of cooking, men increased their regular consumption of delivery/takeout, frozen meals, and prepared meals from grocery, while women did not. More men continued to dine out regularly compared to women.
  • Women are significantly more likely than men to say that the pandemic affected their diet and weight negatively. Qualitatively, women – especially moms – report much more stress around food.

As I read this, in my head I heard a shout from an overwhelmingly female chorus:


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