Effects and Implications of COVID-19 for the Human Senses, Consumer Preferences, Appetite and Eating Behaviour

Published: August 2022

Edited by: Derek V. Byrne

This book is a reprint of the Special Issue Effects and Implications of COVID-19 for the Human Senses, Consumer Preferences, Appetite and Eating Behaviour that was published in Foods.


“Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) evolved into a global pandemic in 2020. The assessment of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) patients has presented a health condition including, in many cases, a mild to severe loss of smell and tasting abilities among patients, see, e.g.,.
Initial work has shown short- and likely longer-term negative effects on the human senses, with some indications for effects on consumer preferences; however, as of yet, very little is known about the impacts on eating behaviours and consequent longer-term effects on appetite.
Food enjoyment is a key aspect of people’s appetite, and any loss in expected pleasure greatly affects our motivation to eat, potentially leading to persons affected by COVID-19 to experience core changes in relation to their food intake practices, which may potentially have long-term implications for health and recovery.
The aim of this Special Issue was, for the first time, to bring together researchers with key insights on how COVID-19 has impacted appetite and eating behaviours, from the fundamental to the applicable, as assessed by human sensory perception and behaviour.
Through this call for publications, we wished to document and bring together ongoing key research in order to ensure that this research has a lasting impact regarding our future understanding of the measures developed to help and treat people affected during the ongoing pandemic.
Moreover, we requested the inclusion of a range of research from fundamental effects on the senses, to changes in consumer preferences all the way to how and why COVID-19 has changed consumer behaviours in relation to food and eating in the longer term.
The articles included have been categorized based on their core aims and findings, and they cover research in relation to COVID-19 and the senses in four key areas, with respect to appetite and eating behaviour, food choice and preference, the perception of food risk and safety, and finally to the effects on purchasing behaviour during and after the initial waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. This collection of articles is, in essence, a time capsule of the wide focus and importance of sensory and consumer science in the COVID-19 space thus far, and its highlighting of effects on societies senses, eating practices and behaviours.
Ultimately, the goal was to publish the Special Issue collection as an open-source book to act as a tool for understanding the long-term effects of COVID-19 on human health related to food and eating issues. This endeavour is now complete with this group of publications, now designated as Volume I on the ‘Effects and Implications of COVID-19 for the Human Senses, Consumer Preferences, Appetite and Eating Behaviour’. Due to a continuously growing body of work on COVID-19 being submitted to the Sensory and Consumer area of Foods, and to ensure we place a focus on the important work on COVID-19 in the sensory sphere, we have determined that a Volume II of this book will be curated and published in due course.”

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