Examining Food Purchase Behavior and Food Values During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Brenna Ellison, Brandon McFadden, Bradley J. Rickard, Norbert L.W. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic has altered conceptions of “normal” globally, including food purchasing and acquisition decisions. In this paper, we surveyed a panel of 1,370 U.S. households four times during the COVID-19 pandemic from mid-March to late April 2020. With this unique panel, we observe changes in food expenditures, shopping behaviors, and food values as the pandemic evolved. Our results reveal reductions in food-away-from-home expenditures and increases in online grocery shopping. Food values appear to be fairly stable in the early stages of the pandemic; however, decreases in the importance of price and nutrition reveal tradeoffs households make during the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-72
Number of pages15
JournalApplied Economic Perspectives and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • C23
  • COVID-19
  • Consumer behavior
  • D12
  • Q18
  • food expenditures
  • food values
  • survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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