Growing couch potatoes?
The impact of COVID-19 in the light of personal values in Hungary
Viktória Szente, Imre Fertő & Zsófia Benedek
Agricultural and Food Economics, volume 10, Article number: 11 (2022)
The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has unprecedentedly affected consumer behaviour. This paper reflects on changes in food consumption, buying, and training (working out) habits using a representative sample of 1000 Hungarian consumers and identifies consumer segments with unique needs based on personal sources of motivation. The widely known Schwartz Portrait Value Questionnaire was used to characterize individual value profiles. Employing k-medians clustering, three clusters were identified. “Business-as-usual People” managed to maintain their daily routines. The frequency of buying local food decreased the least among them. The sedentary lifestyle of the next cluster, “Inactive savers”, appears to have been accompanied by a lower level of food intake. Accordingly, this group was possibly less subject to the negative impacts of obesity, but more in need of psychological support to avoid devastating mental health outcomes. The third cluster initially appeared to encompass “Couch Potatoes” based on their COVID-induced lifestyles. However, the analysis of the value portraits of the latter showed that they were not couch potatoes at all, but rather active and proactive “Stay-at-home Businesspeople” who may benefit from guidance regarding how to manage the increase in housekeeping and childcare, and how to become more physically active in the home environment. The results are valuable from both a scientific and practical perspectives.