Impact of Information on Food Stocking during Early Period of COVID-19 Outbreak: Survey Exploration between Canada and US Consumers

  •  Yuanfang Lin    
  •  Xuezhu Wang    
  •  Tirtha Dhar    


We summarize the exploration results from a survey study that asks Canada and U.S. consumers questions related to their acquisition and processing of information related to the COVID-19 pandemic, situation assessment at the beginning of outbreak, as well as food shopping and stocking behavior during the lockdown. Our analyses identified unique factors influencing consumers’ situation assessment and stockpiling decisions that are going along with the emerging social and cultural trends over the past two decades. These include the wide reach of internet-based media, multiple sources of information in terms of different media types, media languages as well as communication across country borders towards an individual’s immigration and other ethnicity background. Information obtained from social media sources is found to have statistically different impact on the initial situation assessment between Canada and U.S. customers. But learning COVID-19 news from non-English media source significantly increases the seriousness perception of consumers from both countries. Information acquisition from multiple language sources also makes a Canadian customer more likely to stockpiling food items. Consumers’ food stocking behavior from both countries are under the influence of societal and economic factors such as job security. Findings from our research contribute to the ongoing global efforts in mitigating COVID-19’s negative impact by generating effective policy and strategic recommendations for government and business communities to implement collaborative and constructive actions under the global pandemic.

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