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Open AccessArticle

Consumers’ Fears Regarding Food Availability and Purchasing Behaviors during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Importance of Trust and Perceived Stress

Department of Food Market and Consumer Research, Institute of Human Nutrition Sciences, Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW-WULS), Nowoursynowska 159C, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland
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Nutrients 2020, 12(9), 2852; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092852
Received: 3 August 2020 / Revised: 9 September 2020 / Accepted: 15 September 2020 / Published: 17 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition within and beyond Corona Virus)
The present study aimed to investigate whether trust in circulating information and perceived stress are predictors of consumers’ fear of limited access to food as well as predictors of food purchase behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The computer-assisted web interviewing (CAWI) technique was used to collect data from 1033 Polish adults in March 2020. Logistic regression was used to estimate the likelihood of fear of limited access to food and the likelihood of purchase of larger amounts of food than usual. The likelihood of experiencing fear of limited access to food increased by 16% with higher perceived stress, by 50% with higher trust in “Mass media and friends”, and by 219% with perceived changes in food availability in the previous month. Trust in “Polish government institutions” decreased the chance of experiencing such fears by 22%. The likelihood of purchasing larger quantities of food than usual increased by 9% with higher perceived stress, by 46% with higher trust in “Mass media and friends”, by 81% with perceived changes in food availability in the last month, and by 130% with fears of limited access to food as the pandemic spreads. Government institutions may have difficulty in disseminating pandemic-related recommendations through media, not only due to relatively low trust people have in media organizations but also due to the increasing likelihood of the occurrence of both fears regarding food availability and panic-stricken food-buying behaviors with increase in trust in this source of information. Therefore, it is necessary to develop interventions that will reduce perceived stress and improve the trust in information from reputable sources. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; food purchase; consumer; trust; fears; perceived stress COVID-19 pandemic; food purchase; consumer; trust; fears; perceived stress
MDPI and ACS Style

Jeżewska-Zychowicz, M.; Plichta, M.; Królak, M. Consumers’ Fears Regarding Food Availability and Purchasing Behaviors during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Importance of Trust and Perceived Stress. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2852.

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