During the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the lockdown, various changes of dietary habits are observed, including both positive and negative ones. However, the food choice determinants in this period were not studied so far for children and adolescents. The study aimed to analyze the changes in the food choice determinants of secondary school students in a national sample of Polish adolescents within the Polish Adolescents’ COVID-19 Experience (PLACE-19) Study population. The study was conducted in May 2020, based on the random quota sampling of schools (for voivodeships and counties) and a number of 2448 students from all the regions of Poland participated. The Food Choice Questionnaire (FCQ) (36 items) was applied twice—to analyze separately current choices (during the period of COVID-19 pandemic) and general choices (when there was no COVID-19 pandemic). For both the period before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, sensory appeal and price were indicated as the most important factors (with the highest scores). However, differences were observed between the scores of specific factors, while health (p
< 0.0001) and weight control (p
< 0.0001) were declared as more important during the period of COVID-19 pandemic, compared with the period before, but mood (p
< 0.0001) and sensory appeal (p <
0.0001) as less important. The observations were confirmed for sub-groups, while female and male respondents were analyzed separately. It can be concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic may have changed the food choice determinants of Polish adolescents, as it may have increased the importance of health and weight control, but reduced the role of mood and sensory appeal. This may be interpreted as positive changes promoting the uptake of a better diet than in the period before the pandemic.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited