Impact of COVID-19 on Food Behavior and Consumption in Qatar
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The government of Qatar took strong containment measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with restrictions on daily living such as social distancing and the closing of businesses and schools. While these measures are essential to stop the virus spreading, several voices came to warn of their potential disruptive impact on the agri-food system. Therefore, this paper investigates the immediate impacts of COVID-19 on Qatari consumer awareness, attitudes, and behaviors related to food consumption. The study is based on an online survey in Qatar using a structured questionnaire that was administered in the Arabic language through the Survey Monkey platform from 24 May until 14 June 2020. The results reveal clear changes in the way consumers are eating, shopping, and interacting with food. Indeed, the survey results suggested (i) a shift toward healthier diets; (ii) an increase in the consumption of domestic products due to food safety concerns; (iii) a change in the modality of acquiring food (with a surge in online grocery shopping); (iv) an increase in culinary capabilities; and (v) the absence of panic buying and food stockpiling in Qatar. The results are expected to inform current emergency plans as well as long-term food-related strategies in Qatar.