The International Food Information Council recently conducted a consumer research survey of 1,000 people on COVID-19’s impact on food purchasing, eating behaviors and perceptions of food safety.

  • There are stark differences in the behaviors around eating and shopping between age groups.  For example: Those in the youngest age bracket (less than 45 years of age) were less apt to follow risk-reducing precautions – for example, just 55% reported washing their hands after shopping – while those 65+ had the highest percentage of people washing their hands after shopping (73%), minimizing touching surfaces (62%) and shopping during less busy times (50%).
  • Running out of healthy food (9%) and not knowing how to prepare the foods they had available (5%) were less common concerns overall, but they were more likely to be selected by the youngest age bracket (those under the age of 45).
  • Those under age 45 were more likely to be upping their packaged foods purchases, while packaged food purchases by older age groups generally had not changed. A higher percentage of people under 45 were also purchasing more frozen food compared to older age groups.
  • While there were no demographic differences seen in those who started online grocery ordering over the past month, college-educated people and those under the age of 45 were more likely to increase the frequency of their existing grocery delivery versus non-college educated and older age groups, respectively.
  • Most people are confident in the safety of the food supply and the ability for food producers to meet their needs in the coming months. Eighty-two percent of survey takers are confident that the food they are buying is safe, with 39% being very confident and 43% somewhat confident. This number is even higher than IFIC reported in our 2019 Food & Health Survey, in which we asked, “Overall, how confident are you in the safety of the US food supply?” At this point just over a year ago, 68% were confident in the safety of our food supply (53% somewhat confident and 15% very confident). Seventy-seven percent projected confidence in the ability of food producers to supply enough food to meet consumer needs for the month ahead (31% very confident; 46% somewhat confident). White, college-educated survey takers were more likely to be confident, while Hispanic/Latinx and non-college-educated respondents were less so.

You can find the full results here.