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CUBS PARTAKES IN GLOBAL RESEARCH PROJECT ON FOOD CONSUMPTION

Posted on: 21 May 2020

CUBS PARTAKES IN GLOBAL RESEARCH PROJECT ON FOOD CONSUMPTION

CUBS, UCC and Teagasc are working with universities and research institutions from twenty-eight countries to examine a broad range of consumer habits (including shopping, cooking, baking and eating) before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will thus be able to see how Irish food consumption has changed in relation to our European and international neighbours.

“Anecdotal evidence indicates a renewed interest in baking and more cooking from scratch. However, wine consumption and treating has also increased.  So while we might expect health motivations to increase in importance at this time, is this actually the case across all age groups?  This survey will enable us to quantify this and other changes in food-related behaviour and attitudes, and the international collaboration will enable us to see difference in the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on Irish consumers compared to others on an international basis,” claims Professor Mary McCarthy, Professor of Marketing in CUBS.

“Shopping behaviour has clearly changed as a result of social distancing with people spending more time queuing to get into shops for example, however questions remain such as: how has this impacted on who does the shopping, the use of shopping lists, and preference for local suppliers? With many parents using baking and cooking as a way to occupy children at home, are consumers using their time to develop their culinary skills and will future generations be more ’food savvy’?  Is a lack of time really one of the main barriers to cooking and baking on a regular basis?  Is Granny’s recipe for scones still the gold standard, or are online influencers taking over?  These are the kinds of questions we will be able to answer through this survey,” says Professor Maeve Henchion, Head of Department of Agrifood Business and Spatial Analysis in Teagasc.

Dr Sinead McCarthy, Department of Agrifood Business and Spatial Analysis in Teagasc notes that: “many of the changes we are seeing in consumer food-related behaviour and attitudes are temporary, but some will be more permanent in nature.  We need to understand this now to help Irish farmers, food producers and retailers adapt to the post COVID-19 context”.

Professor Mary McCarthy (m.mccarthy@ucc.ie) can be contacted for further information.