Even for nutrition, as for many other aspects of our daily lives, there is a before and after the coronavirus emergency. The long days of the lockdown drew Italians closer to cooking and, especially among younger people, brought about more sustainable eating habits thanks to a more varied diet and the choice of fresh raw materials. This is what emerged from a study conducted by the Bicocca Center of Science and Technology for Food (BEST4Food) of the University of Milan-Bicocca. The study, an integral part of the “Bicocca for Expo Dubai” initiative, stems from the collaboration between the Italian Commissioner’s Office for Expo and the Milan-based university.
Phase 1 of the pandemic – roughly 2500 respondents (aged under 29)
- 62,9%: Cooked more often than usual
- 45,6%: Used more fresh raw materials than usual
- Over 50%: Declared to have prepared more frequently dishes requiring over 30 minutes to prepare
The research team developed a statistical index capable of highlighting the lockdown’s effect on the wholesomeness and sustainability of the participants’ consumption habits. The results showed a positive relation between the time spent cooking and the pleasure associated with it, besides the transition towards sustainable models; but, above all, it evidenced a more decisive leap towards sustainable consumption by the younger generations (under 29 years) compared to the older ones.
- 67,9%: Wants to retain in future the newly acquired dietary habits
- 68,6%: Wants to retain in future the newly acquired cooking habits
- 77,4%: Wants to continue buying foods from the physical shops used during the lockdown
The study underlines how food was the focal point for dialogue between generations and identifies youths, “invested with the role of agents of change”, as the centre of the cultural and economic processes required for renewing nutritional models that are no longer sustainable.