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Food Security Initiative: How consumer behavior changes amidst the pandemic


As lockdowns continue, consumer food buying habits and behavior tends to change. Worldwide there’s a switch from fresh produce to cheaper products with a longer shelf life and online food purchases sees a massive surge.

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Bogota sees surge in online shopping and local Cauca communities support each other
Since the start of the pandemic outbreak in the country, Colombians have chosen to use virtual means to keep themselves supplied without going out. It is evident that electronic commerce and digital sales have exponentially increased their services. In Bogota, home delivery and courier services have grown by up to 28% compared to the previous weeks of March. Supermarkets today generate almost three times more orders than they did a few weeks ago.

In the Cauca region, different initiatives have been created, such as marketing support for the products of Cauca farmers, facilitating contact between producers and buyers through telephone lines and Internet pages.


Consumption of households increased
While people stay in their homes, Kenyan food consumption in households has increased with mainly buying food that can be stored in large quantities unlike the perishable food. As not all markets are open to buy food, home delivery is on the rise this because most people prefer to stay at home and get the produce delivered at their door step.


Fresh produce sales starting to pick up again
Jordanian farmers in several regions noted that a change in consumer behavior has been experienced. Especially at the beginning of the lockdown, where normally fresh vegetables are high in demand, there was a switch to canned and processed foods. This can be explained due to the price rise of fresh produce. Now that the lockdown is further down the line and rules are loosening up, consumers start to buy more fresh vegetables again, but in less quantalities as it’s still expensive.

South Africa

Strong demand for food delivery
With people in lockdown there has been a surge in online shopping throughout the world. This also goes for online food orders. Through our South African correspondents, we have been informed that there has been a strong demand for food delivery and due to lockdown level 4, restaurants are now allowed to make home deliveries. It’s a way to keep the restaurant sector on float, however, restaurants need to quickly adjust and be creative towards this new way of doing business.

A special thank you to our project partners ESAP, ARN, Holland House, and PBA in Colombia, Latia in Kenya, Al Shoubak University College, Jordan Valley College and Al Huson University College in Jordan and Elsenburg Agricultural College, Vhembe TVET College, Boland TVET College, NCRTVET College and Nkangala TVET College in South Africa for providing us with their view and experience on the current situation.

Would you like to receive regular updates about how different countries in the world sustain food security? Register here

Food Security Initiative
Maastricht School of Management’s food security initiative is born out of the extensive partnerships between MSM and its project partners in Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. MSM brings insights on COVID-19’s impact on food security from the countries (and rural areas) where we operate. The updates will inform on the effects on small- scale and commercial farmers, traders, processors, input suppliers, financial institutions, and will provide useful insights for policy makers, donors, NGO’s and scientists. In doing so, MSM can indicate potential changes in food flows in regions around the world and support decision making on how to counterbalance negative impacts of COVID-19 measures. Supported by data flows and local partners, MSM will facilitate multi-actor and cross-sector collaboration through platforms for action.

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