Why these surveys?

It might sound familiar: flour, pasta and yeast are more difficult to find than in the past and you can no longer ignore the photos of homemade bread or cookies on social media. It seems that meals are handled in a completely different way than before the emergence of the coronavirus. These phenomena have not escaped us as researchers.

That is why FOOMS (Food, Media & Society) of UAntwerp, in collaboration with UGent and KU Leuven, launched the first #CoronaCookingSurvey, a large-scale survey into the impact of COVID-19 on how people deal with food and food-related media. In this way, shifts can be identified in terms of buying, cooking and eating habits since the corona measures.

The second iteration of our #CoronaCookingSurvey project will be launched on the 11th of November 2020, and assesses the continued effects of COVID-19 on the ways we approach and perceive food. With this study we will be able to understand the more long-term influences this virus has on our food-related behaviors. 

The various surveys are part of ongoing research projects funded by VLAIO (InFlOOD) and FWO (From Food Media to Food Literacy).

  • Flanders’ FOOD is a cluster for the agri-food industry, supported by the Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO). The cluster aims to facilitate the collaboration between enterprises, knowledge institutes and governments. Discover all clusters at www.vlaio.be/clusters. #growingstrong
  • The Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) stimulates and financially supports fundamental scientific research, strategic basic research, clinical scientific research, the purchase of large-scale and medium-scale research infrastructure, and the management of large computing capacity in Flanders.

How are we carrying out this research?

This protocol only relates to the first phase of our project, that ran from April-June 2020. Protocols for the later phases of this project will be published soon.

What do we hope to achieve?

We are experiencing unprecedented circumstances of which it’s not known what the short and long-term consequences will be.
The findings from this project will be very helpful to see how we adjust our behavior around one of our basic needs – food – during widespread modern crises.

Additionally, with these studies we also want to learn how to better communicate about nutrition and how we can help stakeholders to adjust their strategies.

Now more than ever, we are looking for information we can count on. In this area, our results can also show which food-related information is most important to us in situations such as this and which (type of) sources we rely on most. Finally, we hope to prevent nutritional information from polarizing or the information balance from tipping, which can play an important role in our search for reliable information.

International cooperation

In the hope that researchers from other countries would share our interest in changed dietary habits because of the coronavirus, we sent out a call to map these trends internationally. This call was very well received by colleagues abroad, and we currently have more than 30 countries across different continents joining us in data collection.