Preparing for the Worst? Household Food Stockpiling during the Second Wave of COVID-19 in Serbia
Stockpiling and panic buying are significant components of crisis- and disaster-related consumption behaviors that have gained significant media coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper aims to analyze the features of stockpiling behavior during the second wave of COVID-19 in Serbia based on a structured online questionnaire. This study seeks to answer two questions. First, what factors triggered and affected stockpiling during the COVID-19 pandemic in Serbia? Second, how does stockpiling affect other food habits and diets? A total of 851 valid responses were received. The results highlight several features of the stockpiling behavior in Serbia. First, food stockpiling behavior is influenced by some sociodemographic variables such as gender and household composition. Second, stockpiling was fueled by several negative emotions such as fear, sadness, and depression. Third, the results confirm that stockpiling in Serbia was not triggered by supply shortages but rather by consumers’ concerns of obtaining enough food and rising food prices. Finally, food stockpiling was associated with some positive changes such as eating out less (e.g., restaurants/cafeteria), eating more with their family members, and cooking more food. Analyzing and comprehending consumer food stockpiling patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic may offer policymakers imperative information for adjusting supply and response strategies during future crises.
COVID-19; food consumption; food shopping; stockpiling; panic buying; Serbia; Balkans