Since COVID-19 was first detected in China in 2019, governments around the world have imposed strict measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which substantially impacted people’s life. Consumers’ food consumption behavior has also changed accordingly with reduced grocery shopping frequency, replaced in-person grocery shopping with online shopping, and increased valuation on food. In this paper, we aim to investigate the change in Chinese consumers’ food consumption and their willingness to pay (WTP) for vegetables and meat, using a dataset with 1206 online samples collected between February and March 2020. Consumers’ WTP for vegetables and meat is estimated using a double-bounded dichotomous contingent valuation design, and factors affecting their WTPs are also investigated. Results show that consumers have a higher WTP for these food products during the pandemic, and their WTP is positively affected by their anticipated duration of the COVID-19, their online shopping shares, their direct exposure to infected patients, their gender, and their income. These results imply that the food industry shall try to develop online market channels as consumers are willing to share the costs, while lower-income consumers may not be able to meet their food needs with prices increased beyond their WTP and thus may call for the government’s support.
Food consumption; pandemic; willingness-to-pay; double-bounded
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