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Food literacy as a resilience factor in response to health-related uncertainty

Maria Gianni (Department of Business Administration, University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Antonella Reitano (Department of Business Administration and Law, University of Calabria, Rende, Italy)
Marco Fazio (Department of Business Administration and Law, University of Calabria, Rende, Italy)
Athanasia Gkimperiti (Business Division, American College of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece)
Nikolaos Karanasios (Department of Business Administration, International Hellenic University, Thermi, Greece)
David W. Taylor (Department of Strategy Enterprise and Sustainability, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 7 June 2022

Issue publication date: 9 February 2023




During the Covid-19 pandemic, people were deprived of their freedom, unable to engage in physical and social activities, and worried about their health. Uncertainty, insecurity, and confinement are all factors that may induce stress, uneasiness, fear, and depression. In this context, this study aims to identify possible relationships of emotions caused by health risks and restrictions to outdoor activities with well-informed decisions about food consumption.


The theoretical framework of this research draws on the stimulus-organism-response paradigm yielding six research hypotheses. An online survey was designated to test these hypotheses. A total of 1,298 responses were gathered from Italy, Greece, and the United Kingdom. Data analyses include demographic group comparisons, moderation, and multiple regression tests.


The results showed that when people miss their usual activities (including freedom of movement, social contact, travelling, personal care services, leisure activities, and eating at restaurants) and worry about their health and the health of their families, they turn to safer food choices of higher quality, dedicating more of their time and resources to cooking and eating.

Research limitations/implications

The findings showcase how risk-based thinking is critical for management and marketing strategies. Academics and practitioners may rely on these findings to include extreme conditions within their scope, understanding food literacy as a resilience factor to cope with health risks and stimulated emotions.


This study identified food behavioural patterns under risk-laden conditions. A health risk acted as an opportunity to look at food consumption as a means of resilience.



Gianni, M., Reitano, A., Fazio, M., Gkimperiti, A., Karanasios, N. and Taylor, D.W. (2023), "Food literacy as a resilience factor in response to health-related uncertainty", British Food Journal, Vol. 125 No. 3, pp. 1067-1093.



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