Publication Date

Fall 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging


Giselle Pignotti

Subject Areas



Shelter-in-place and social distancing protocols were issued across the country to containthe spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19); however, these safety measures gave rise to unprecedented unemployment rates and disruptions to food access. This study investigated how COVID-19 affected food security and food consumption patterns in the San Francisco Bay Area. A validated survey developed by the National Food Access and COVID Research Team (NFACT) was distributed online from August to November 2020. The survey measured food access and eating behaviors during the pandemic. Seven hundred and twentyfour participants (403 female, 76 male, average age 43.9 ± 15.0 years) completed the online survey. Food insecurity in the Bay Area increased from 18.9% to 33.1% since the COVID-19 outbreak; 14.2% participants were newly food insecure (F.I.). Most newly F.I. participants were women (51.5%, P=0.0204), and they were three times more likely to be F.I. than males(P<0.01). Food insecurity was also significantly more prevalent among Hispanics (P<0.01), households with children (P<0.05), participants with an annual income <$35,000 (P<0.001), articipants who experienced a job disruption during the pandemic (P<0.001), and those whoearned less than an associate’s degree (P<0.001). Lastly, participants who consumed fewerfruits and vegetables (F.V.) during the pandemic were nearly six times as likely to be F.I. than those who consumed more or about the same F.V. (P<0.001). The results illustrate the need to address food access disparities among women, Hispanics, and households with children.