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Article
Publication date: 15 July 2022

Tarek Ben Hassen, Hamid El Bilali and Mohammad Sadegh Allahyari

During a pandemic, risk and uncertainty are the most important factors affecting consumer behavior. Near Eastern marketplaces are undergoing dramatic change during the…

Abstract

Purpose

During a pandemic, risk and uncertainty are the most important factors affecting consumer behavior. Near Eastern marketplaces are undergoing dramatic change during the COVID-19 global pandemic. As a result, this paper aims to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on food shopping habits in four countries of the Near East sub-region, namely, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories, Oman and Qatar.

Design/methodology/approach

The research is based on an online survey conducted on 1,456 subjects using a snowball sampling technique. The questionnaire consisted of 24 different questions (multiple-choice, one option) regarding the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on food habits such as food shopping, preparation, eating and food waste.

Findings

The findings show that consumers’ shopping habits and food sourcing in the region changed due to the risk and uncertainty connected with the COVID-19 pandemic. Firstly, respondents decreased their shopping frequency and, as a result, increased the amount of food purchased each trip. Secondly, because of food safety concerns, respondents boosted their purchases of local products. Thirdly, the data revealed an increase in online food shopping, mainly in high-income countries, namely, Qatar and Oman. Fourthly, the findings revealed significant disparities in food stockpiling behavior across the countries investigated.

Research limitations/implications

The major limitation of this study is the survey bias. The survey respondents were randomly hired. The questionnaire was completed by volunteers who were not rewarded. Only those motivated by a personal interest in the topic took part in the study. The sample had a high number of educated individuals, which does not represent the overall populations of the studied countries. In this case, generalizing the findings is inaccurate. A segment of the population with lower accessibility, such as individuals who are not web-literate, as well as the elderly, poor households and informal workers, especially in the Near East and North African (NENA) region, is often underrepresented in online surveys.

Practical implications

The findings provide insight into how consumers’ food shopping habits have changed due to the pandemic. This and other research will help governments and other organizations better prepare for future disasters and pandemics. The study’s results will also be useful in formulating evidence-based policies for the four countries studied and the NENA area as a whole throughout the post-pandemic recovery phase. The findings, for example, emphasized the necessity of encouraging online shopping by upgrading information and communication technology infrastructure and internet speed, particularly in middle-income and developing countries like Lebanon. Furthermore, in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories, the findings provide insights to international organizations (both humanitarian and development ones) to pay more attention to issues of food and nutrition security to avoid the financial and political crises combined with the COVID-19 health crisis, become a humanitarian crisis for locals as well as the hundreds of thousands of refugees (primarily Syrians in Lebanon). Finally, the pandemic’s long-term impact on food activities and food security must be mitigated by including agricultural and food systems in recovery efforts. Several issues are posing a threat to food systems. Addressing them successfully involves developing cross-disciplinary research that innovates at their intersections to provide different solutions that address the social, economic, technological and policy components of these issues.

Originality/value

The paper’s findings indicate that the pandemic’s consequences will most certainly differ from country to country, based not just on the epidemiologic condition but also, inter alia, on the level of pre-COVID socioeconomic development.

Details

Journal of Islamic Marketing, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-0833

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 15 June 2021

Tarek Ben Hassen, Hamid El Bilali, Mohammad S. Allahyari and Laurence Charbel

Right after announcing the first cases, several governments worldwide have implemented stringent measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. This disruption in individuals'…

Abstract

Purpose

Right after announcing the first cases, several governments worldwide have implemented stringent measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. This disruption in individuals' daily routines transformed food consumption habits. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food consumption, diet and food shopping behaviors in Lebanon.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws upon an online survey in Lebanon administered in Arabic and English through the Survey Monkey platform in the period of July 15—August 5, 2020, with 201 adults. The survey findings were analyzed using descriptive statistics, a paired sample t-test and a Phi correlation test.

Findings

The research underlined numerous key consumer tendencies that are currently affecting diet and food behavior in Lebanon. Indeed, the study outcomes suggested (1) a move toward healthier diets; (2) a rise in the consumption of domestic products due to food safety concerns; (3) a change in the grocery shopping behaviors (with a rise in online shopping); (4) a surge of food stockpiling; and (5) a decrease in household food wastage. Surprisingly, COVID-19 seems to generate several positive changes toward more sustainable and healthier consumption patterns in Lebanon.

Research limitations/implications

These findings contribute to the clarification and critical analysis of the impacts of COVID-19 on food behaviors in Lebanon, which would have several policy implications.

Originality/value

The findings of this first study contribute to the clarification and critical analysis of the impacts of COVID-19 on food behaviors in Lebanon, which would have several policy implications.

Details

Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-0839

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 20 July 2020

Tarek Ben Hassen

The purpose of this paper is to examine the current state of the knowledge-based economy in two distinctive case studies in the Arab World: Qatar and Lebanon. Based on…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the current state of the knowledge-based economy in two distinctive case studies in the Arab World: Qatar and Lebanon. Based on five aspects of the knowledge-based economy namely: ICT, human capital and education; innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic and institutional regime, we provide a careful view of the obstacles and challenges that Qatar and Lebanon are facing and how this is hindering their transformation to a knowledge-based economy.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology of this research is based on a literature review and information collected through semi-structured interviews with the different stakeholders of the knowledge-based economy in Qatar and Lebanon.

Findings

The research reveals that numerous factors shape the knowledge-based economy in Qatar and Lebanon. In Qatar, the main strength of the knowledge-based economy is the determination of the Qatari government to diversify the economy and the main weaknesses are the shortage of qualified human resources, the fear of failure and the low performance of the innovation system. In Lebanon, the knowledge-based economy is driven by the education system and the entrepreneurship culture, nevertheless the political instability of the country and the weak ICT infrastructure impede its development.

Originality/value

These findings contribute to the clarification and critical analysis of the current state of the knowledge-based economy in Qatar and Lebanon, which would have several policy implications.

Details

EuroMed Journal of Business, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1450-2194

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 December 2021

Tarek Ben Hassen, Hamid El Bilali, Mohammad Sadegh Allahyari and Rabeh Morrar

Global lockdowns and restrictions linked to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have affected food environments and consumption patterns. Conflict-affected…

Abstract

Purpose

Global lockdowns and restrictions linked to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic have affected food environments and consumption patterns. Conflict-affected countries are disproportionately affected from economic and food security perspectives. In this regard, the Palestinian territories (namely West Bank and Gaza Strip), which face a number of issues such as Israeli military and economic control, overcrowded cities and refugee camps (especially in Gaza Strip), rising poverty and food insecurity, are an especially interesting case study. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to analyze the effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on the selection and intake of foods and drinks, as well as consumer behavior and attitude toward food in the Palestinian territories.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws upon an online survey in the Palestinian territories administered in Arabic through the Survey Monkey platform from September 15 to October 10, 2020, with 322 adults. The survey findings were analyzed using descriptive statistics and several nonparametric tests. Particularly, the U-Mann Whitney test was used in dichotomous, categorical independent variables (e.g. gender), while the Kruskal–Wallis test was run to analyze multi-choice responses (e.g. occupation).

Findings

The results reveal that food attitudes and consumer behavior towards food have been widely affected. First, they reveal that Palestinians try to have healthier diets but ate more between meals (e.g. snacks). Second, the pandemic transformed respondents' shopping behavior and induced panic buying, negatively affecting food affordability due to increased prices of some foods (e.g. fruits and vegetables). Some food behaviors were shaped by negative psychological determinants (e.g. depression and anxiety). The pandemic effects are moderated by different sociodemographics (age, education and income). COVID-19 negatively affected food security but also opened a “window of opportunity” to trigger the transition towards more sustainable diets.

Originality/value

The paper results show that the eventual effects of COVID-19 will most likely vary from country to country, based not only on the epidemiological circumstances but also, among other factors, on the baseline socioeconomic situation and shock resilience. The findings contribute to the clarification and critical analysis of the impacts of COVID-19 on food behaviors in the Palestinian territories, which would have several policy implications.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 124 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 9 March 2020

Tarek Ben Hassen

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the characteristics and dynamics of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the ICT sector in Qatar.

2378

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the characteristics and dynamics of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the ICT sector in Qatar.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology of this research is based on a literature review and information collected through semistructured interviews with the different stakeholders involved in the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the ICT sector in Qatar.

Findings

The results show that two opposite forces shape the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the ICT sector in Qatar. On one hand, the strong determination and intervention of the Qatari government to diversify the economy by creating a vibrant ecosystem in the ICT sector. On the other hand, entrepreneurs in this sector are still facing some barriers and difficulties, and those issues are tightly related to Qatar's economic characteristics as a rentier state whose economy is driven by hydrocarbon resources.

Originality/value

These findings contribute to the clarification and critical analysis of the current dynamics of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the ICT sector in Qatar, which would have several policy implications.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 14 May 2019

Tarek Ben Hassen and Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the factors that make Beirut a fashion hub by studying the characteristics of creativity and the role of the different stakeholders…

1814

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the factors that make Beirut a fashion hub by studying the characteristics of creativity and the role of the different stakeholders in setting an environment that encourages creativity in Beirut.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology of this research is based on a literature review and information collected through semi-structured interviews with the different stakeholders of the sector.

Findings

The research reveals three results. First, this dynamic fashion design in Beirut is explained by the international success of some Lebanese fashion designers. Second, as there is an absence of any form of governmental intervention, the development of the sector is totally based on private business initiatives. Third, the research demonstrates the importance of the local culture, knowledge exchanges and lifestyle in shaping creativity and designers’ careers in Beirut.

Originality/value

These findings contribute to the clarification and critical analysis of the current state of fashion design in Beirut, which would have several policy implications.

Details

EuroMed Journal of Business, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1450-2194

Keywords

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