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In Trends in food science & technology

Background : The COVID-19 pandemic affects all aspects of human life including their food consumption. The changes in the food production and supply processes introduce changes to the global dietary patterns.

Scope and Approach : To study the COVID-19 impact on food consumption process, we have analyzed two data sets that consist of food preparation recipes published before (69,444) and during the quarantine (10,009) period. Since working with large data sets is a time-consuming task, we have applied a recently proposed artificial intelligence approach called DietHub. The approach uses the recipe preparation description (i.e. text) and automatically provides a list of main ingredients annotated using the Hansard semantic tags. After extracting the semantic tags of the ingredients for every recipe, we have compared the food consumption patterns between the two data sets by comparing the relative frequency of the ingredients that compose the recipes.

Key Findings and Conclusions : Using the AI methodology, the changes in the food consumption patterns before and during the COVID-19 pandemic are obvious. The highest positive difference in the food consumption can be found in foods such as "Pulses/ plants producing pulses", "Pancake/Tortilla/Outcake", and "Soup/pottage", which increase by 300%, 280%, and 100%, respectively. Conversely, the largest decrease in consumption can be food for food such as "Order Perciformes (type of fish)", "Corn/cereals/grain", and "Wine-making", with a reduction of 50%, 40%, and 30%, respectively. This kind of analysis is valuable in times of crisis and emergencies, which is a very good example of the scientific support that regulators require in order to take quick and appropriate response.

Eftimov Tome, Popovski Gorjan, Petković Matej, Seljak Barbara Koroušić, Kocev Dragi


Artificial intelligence, COVID-19 pandemic, Dietary habits analysis, Food consumption, Food semantic annotation