The Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) commissioned polling from Savanta ComRes to understand more about the potential effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and public health measures to manage the situation, on the food environment and what people are eating.
Summary of findings:
Younger people (aged 18-24) are more likely to report changes in what they are eating such as eating more or less of certain types of food. The good news is that there is a rise in people of all ages and backgrounds eating fruit and vegetables and cooking from scratch. However it’s worrying that around one in seven people are reporting eating less fruit and vegetables. A large proportion of people (48%) report that they are eating less fast food and takeaways, which is likely to be beneficial for health, as takeaways are typically high in calories, fat and salt.2 However, people (particularly young people) are reporting eating more discretionary foods, including confectionery, cakes and biscuits and crisps.
People haven’t noticed any particular changes in food advertising (apart from younger people who report seeing slightly more food advertising online). There is a change in people’s perceptions of supermarket promotions with 39% of people reporting seeing fewer multi-buy promotions on food in shops.
Supermarkets and their workers are doing a fantastic job of supplying food to local communities during these challenging times. The majority of people (62%) agree that supermarkets have a key role to play in helping people be healthy at the moment. 50% agree supermarkets should focus their promotions on foods that help us be healthier.
The OHA is calling on supermarkets to use promotions only on food that helps us be healthy during this time.