Research Outline

COVID-19 Impact on Meal Patterns/Snacking (2)


To determine through statistics and data whether the increase in working and learning from home due to COVID-19 restrictions has:
1) Altered meal patterns and snacking among people, i.e., whether people are having fewer defined meal time but more time for quick snacks/small breaks.
2) Increased the occasions for eating throughout the day, eg. pre-breakfast, pre-lunch.
3) Changed people's opinion of snacks, how snacks are now a quick meal and as such, people are looking for more mindful snacking.

Early Findings

Changed Food Habits of Americans

  • A new national survey called "The 2020 Food and Health Survey" conducted by the International Food Information Council has revealed that 85% of US citizens have altered their food habits since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • According to the above survey, since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Americans have been cooking more home-cooked meals, snacking more, thinking more about food, and washing the purchased produce more.
  • Consumers under the age of 35 years have made more changes to their food habits, both in terms of more healthy and less healthy food choices, than other age groups.
  • Almost 60% of the people surveyed reported cooking more at home since the pandemic started, more due to practical necessity than any other reason.
  • The percentage of respondents who stated that they have increased their consumption of certain food items since the start of the pandemic were as follows: fruits (43%), vegetables (42%), protein (30%), sweets (47%). Conversely, the percentage of respondents who stated that they have decreased their consumption of certain food items were as follows: vegetables (24%), fruits (21%), protein (19%).

Americans Snacking More

  • According to the "The 2020 Food and Health Survey," 33% of respondents stated that they are consuming more snacks during the COVID-19 pandemic than before.
  • The above snacking tendencies vary with age. 41% of the respondents under the age of 35 are snacking more, while 26% of consumers aged 50 and above are snacking more. 41% of adults having children under the age of 18 are snacking more, compared to 29% of adults not having children.
  • A study conducted by the Obesity Society related to the American consumer habits during the COVID-19 lockdown revealed that unhealthy eating patterns, especially among the already at‐risk populations, has decreased during the pandemic.
  • According to ResearchAndMarkets, sale of cookies has increased by 147% during the pandemic.
  • The New York Times in its April 7, 2020, issue reported that healthy eaters in the US are consuming packaged food products due to the stress of working from home and household chores and are consuming food in between regular meal times.

Summary of the Initial Findings

  • During the time constraint of our initial hour of research, we found articles that mention about the rise of snacking in Americans due to the COVID-19 lockdown and the stress of working from home. The articles also tell that the food habits of Americans have changed.
  • Additional research is required to reveal statistics about whether people are having fewer defined meals but snacking throughout the day.