Food Behavior Changes during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Statistical Analysis of Consumer Survey Data from Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing quarantine and other social distancing measures. These measures, however, have mental, social, and economic consequences on diet and food behaviors. The Bosnian case is particularly pertinent since the country has one of the highest global mortality rates relative to its population. In addition, its health system is fragmented and under-resourced. Consequently, in this study, we analyze the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Bosnians’ behaviors relating to food. It is based on an online survey performed during October–November 2020 with 3133 adult respondents. The statistical analysis encompassed descriptive statistics (means, percentages, and frequencies), as well as cluster analysis. The results reveal that the pandemic transformed consumers’ shopping behaviors and food sourcing, reducing shopping frequency and increasing food bought on each trip. Furthermore, there was an increase in the consumption of local food items due to food safety concerns. Additionally, the pandemic improved the awareness of Bosnians towards food with a decrease in food waste. Regarding diets, Bosnians tried to have healthier diets during the pandemic. Therefore, COVID-19 might have opened a ‘window of opportunity’ to promote the shift towards more sustainable food consumption and lifestyles.
COVID-19; diet; food behavior; food shopping; foodwaste; Bosnia andHerzegovina; Balkans