eating habits

Canadians struggling with eating habits during COVID-19

A new survey from the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University has found that 74 per cent of Canadians say the COVID-19 has impacted their pandemic impacted their eating habits.

More than three-quarters of those surveyed (77 per cent) said their stress level was impacted by the pandemic, with younger generations feeling it the most: millennials at 83 per cent and Gen Z at 82 per cent.

More than half of Canadians (51.4 per cent) said they tend to eat when they feel worried about the pandemic.

Meal management has also been a challenge, with only 8.8 per cent saying they have been able to manage mealtimes properly. 32.5 per cent said they are able to manage their mealtimes most of the time.

When it comes to snacking, unhealthiness is ruling. Only 26.1 per cent believe they eat healthy snacks “all the time,” or “most of the time,” while 73.9 per cent said “occasionally” or “never.”

“The biggest challenge is that most people have actually lost their food bearings in terms of when to snack and when to eat,” says Sylvain Charlebois, director of the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University. “With many Canadians working from home and a lot of changes in their routines, it’s very difficult to plan in advance.”

However, Charlebois notes that as we approach summer and potentially looser lockdown restrictions, people are starting to think about the lifestyle they want to have post-pandemic. “You want to eat well and you also want to live well,” he says. “It’s important for grocers to really acknowledge that Canada is leaving the pandemic less healthy, and how can you, as a grocer, become a partner to Canadians who are looking for a healthy path coming out of the pandemic.”

A total of 9,991 Canadians were surveyed in April 2021. The survey was conducted in partnership with Caddle.

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