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Consumers’ eating habits during the Covid-19 pandemic: Evidence of an experimental analysis in Italy


During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Italian food supply chain responded to the needs of consumers by giving continuity to the supply of food products even if the Italian food system in the first phase of lockdown had to deal with the anxiety of consumers who rushed to the food stores to "clear the shelves ". The aim of this research is to provide a qualitative interpretation of Italian families' food consumption experiences during the lockdown due to Covid-19, which lasted from March 9, 2020 to May 4, 2020. This research has examined twenty Italian families and reveals that anxiety about the exhaustion of food stocks was detected in the first weeks of the lockdown, where there were consumers queuing at supermarkets and emptying the shelves (especially of products with high shelf life such as pasta, flour, tomato sauce). In the following weeks, the awareness that in Italy the food supply chain had been able to manage the logistics well, allowing a continuous return of food supply, led to a reprise of the normal situation. However, the results of the research show that Covid-19 in rural areas has led to a "return " to the consumption of local or near local agri-food products based on the greater time available deriving from taxes by the legislator. Furthermore, the research highlights a return to self consumption through family-run gardens. Ultimately this article highlights some resilience strategies used by families during the lockdown resulting from the COVID19 pandemic.