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The pandemic has made it even more difficult for one in three Americans to get healthy and affordable food

The pandemic has made it even more difficult for one in three Americans to get healthy and affordable food

  • November 1, 2021

from Sheril cherry tree, Michigan State University and Douglas Buhler, Michigan State University

The conversation, CC BY-ND

COVID-19 has made food access difficult for many communities. From Michigan State University in the fall of 2021 Survey on nutritional literacy and engagement, 31% of the people we spoke to said the pandemic had affected their household’s ability to source food. This included 28% of households making less than $ 25,000 a year and 38% of households making more than $ 75,000 a year.

We surveyed 2,002 representative Americans between August 27 and September 1, 2021 to examine how the pandemic has affected the food landscape, affecting people’s food resources, choices, and diets.

Million Americans leave the workforce During the pandemic, it is not surprising that 53% of people with limited access to food said they had fewer financial resources than before. Make it worse Food and petrol prices rose over the same period. This made decisions about where and how to spend less dollars even more difficult for families who were already struggling to make ends meet.

Growing food insecurity

The US Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as limited or insecure access to adequate food. Households with poor food security find it difficult to afford enough food and to have a balanced diet.

In 2018, the department estimated that over 37 million Americans were food unsafe. from December 2020 that number had risen to 38.3 million people, or 10.5% of US households.

Among the subset of our survey respondents who said that financial restrictions limit their access to food, 74% said they chose different brands of food in response. Almost half (47%) consumed less food, and 31% received support from government programs like that Complementary Nutritional Support Program (SNAP). One in 6 (17%) said they went to the food banks more often.

Money wasn’t the only factor. Of those with restricted access to food, 37% said they were uncomfortable shopping at the grocery store, and 32% said they did not have reliable transportation. It is likely that the risk of illness has led many people to avoid public transport or carpooling in order to limit the risk of illness.

Regardless of financial constraints, 50% of respondents said the pandemic has changed the way they buy and store food. In this group, 51% look for food with a long shelf life, 50% store more food at home, and 48% make fewer trips to the grocery store. Aside from concerns about the virus itself, these trends can be fraught with uncertainty, speculation, and a lot of publicity Disruptions in the supply chain.

More food awareness

The pandemic has also caused some Americans to focus more on what is not eaten. One in four of our respondents (27%) said they paid more attention to food waste. Given that food waste is worldwide for 6% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and that the US Waste between 30% and 40% its food supply while 6.1 million US children currently live in households with unsafe diets, reducing food waste has the potential to address multiple challenges at once.

At the time of our survey, 69% of respondents had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine. Among those vaccinated, 67% said they went to the grocery store more often after the first vaccination. Similarly, 33% spent more time in the grocery store after vaccination, and 29% said they found it easier to move and access food. Only 15% of the vaccinated respondents no longer wore masks where they were not required.

Our survey results show how the pandemic has changed the lives and behaviors of many Americans in complex and interconnected ways. While these changes may not last, we can predict that American access to food and choices will no doubt continue to change along with the state of the pandemic.The conversation

Sheril cherry tree, Scientific Assistant, Michigan State University and Douglas Buhler, Director of AgBioResearch and Deputy Vice President for Research and Innovation, Michigan State University

This article is republished by The conversation under a Creative Commons license. read this original article.


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