A review of the impact of social disruptions on food security and food choice

Claire D. Munialo*, Duane D. Mellor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


At times of severe social disruption, be that war, conflict, pandemic, or economic downturn, both the availability and consumption of healthy dietary patterns can be adversely affected with any effects often outlasting the initial social disruption. For instance, when the COVID‐19 pandemic hit and lockdown restrictions followed, households were reported to consume unhealthy diets. In some cases, this seemed to be a response to the situation and a coping mechanism. In contrast, in other cases, it was a consequence of limited food availability or access, with some communities finding that fresh foods became difficult to source due to the disruption in global supply chains. The example presented by the impact of conflict in Ukraine, which has also disrupted global food supply chains, at a macrolevel, food systems and at a microlevel, individual and community shows that food choices may respond to different global events in similar ways. Therefore, in this review, a range of events/disruptions are considered, beyond pandemics and wars, including climate disasters (e.g., fire, famine, and floods) that have been shown to impact food supply and consequently, food security. The importance of this can be seen as inadequate and nutritionally poor diets have a concomitant effect on health, which extends beyond the initial period of societal stress and disruption of food supply chains. Hence, the impact of such disruptions on consumer behavior which includes food choice needs to be corroborated. Therefore, this review aims to discuss the impact of such disruptions on consumer behavior and food choices. Additionally, this review provides some practical strategies that can be used to ensure the availability of healthy diets.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Science & Nutrition
Early online date12 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

© 2023 The Authors. Food Science & Nutrition published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited


  • global pandemic
  • food choice
  • conflicts
  • consumer behavior
  • food security
  • recession


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