The impact of covid-19 on rural food supply and demand in australia: Utilising group model building to identifyretailer and customer perspectives
journal contributionposted on 2021-01-01, 00:00 authored by Jill WhelanJill Whelan, Andrew BrownAndrew Brown, L Coller, Claudia StrugnellClaudia Strugnell, Steven AllenderSteven Allender, Laura AlstonLaura Alston, Josh HaywardJosh Hayward, J Brimblecombe, Colin BellColin Bell
Prior to the 2020 outbreak of COVID-19, 70% of Australians’ food purchases were from supermarkets. Rural communities experience challenges accessing healthy food, which drives health inequalities. This study explores the impact of COVID-19 on food supply and purchasing behaviour in a rural supermarket. Group model building workshops explored food supply experiences during COVID-19 in a rural Australian community with one supermarket. We asked three supermarket retailers “What are the current drivers of food supply into this supermarket environment?” and, separately, 33 customers: “What are the current drivers of purchases in this supermarket environment?” Causal loop diagrams were co-created with participants in real time with themes drawn afterwards from coded transcripts. Retailers’ experience of COVID-19 included ‘empty shelves’ attributed to media and government messaging, product unavailability, and community fear. Customers reported fear of contracting COVID-19, unavailability of food, and government restrictions resulting in cooking more meals at home, as influences on purchasing behaviour. Supermarket management and customers demonstrated adaptability and resilience to normalise demand and combat reduced supply.