The impact of social welfare and COVID-19 stringency on the perceived utility of food apps: A hybrid MCDM approach



Linha de Pesquisa
Administração e Economia de Negócios

Liz Hassad de Andrade, Jorge Junio Moreira Antunes, Antônio Mamede Araújo de Medeiros, Peter Wanke, Bernardo Pereira Nunes


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Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, v. 82, Part B. Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has created enormous challenges for society due to the various ways of impacting health. This paper focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s food consumption patterns in the online environment. We investigate food app reviews and examine whether countries with a high rate of success with COVID-19 control consume more unhealthy food through mobile apps. We also investigate whether the population of countries with low social welfare eat more unhealthy food during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to countries with high social welfare. We take a hybrid multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) approach to calculate indexes based on the technique for order of preference by similarity to an ideal solution, complex proportional assessment, and VlseKriterijuska Optimizacija I Komoromisno Resenje. Results show that country social welfare and success in COVID-19 control negatively affect the perceived utility of the apps. Also, success in COVID-19 control and the perceived utility of food apps positively affect the proportion of unhealthy reviews, whereas social welfare has a negative impact. The results have important implications for public health policymakers, showing that the online food environment can be an important setting for interventions that seek to incentivize healthy eating.

Keywords: Online environment, Food consumption, Unhealthy food, COVID-19 control, Social welfare, MCDM.

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