MAKE DO: Short and long term changes in household meal provisioning and preparation in the aftermath of COVID-19


The last decades have been marked by the steady rise of away-from-home meal consumption and the concomitant decline in home cooking and associated behavior in Western countries.

Research on these developments in different disciplines and countries has compiled evidence of their impact on diet quality, food security, health and family well-being.

Consequently, scientists, non-governmental and governmental bodies, health and culinary professionals, media gatekeepers and society in general have been calling for the return to the home kitchen.

In an ironic twist of events, it was COVID-19 that best answered this call and is now effectively forcing millions to stay at home, coping as best as they can with the daunting tasks of planning meals, buying foods and cooking for themselves and their households, day in, day out, in very dire circumstances.

Restricted outdoor mobility, compromised food availability and grocery shopping routines, and scarce away-from-home meal options, together with a growing sense of collapsing routines, loss of freedom and social isolation, as well as heightened perceptions of the personal health and financial risks brought about by the pandemic, are bound to be affecting meal provisioning and preparation behaviors, particularly among women, the ageing and the impoverished.

This bears the urgent question of learning how we are all making do in the kitchen under these circumstances.


True to our motto “People cook. We study them.”, we @ the, located at CUBE, the Research Unit of CATÓLICA-LISBON School of Business and Economics of Universidade Católica Portuguesa, are currently leveraging team expertise and outcomes of own funded projects, E-PRIMEMEAL (FCT) and How We Eat What We Eat (FFMS), and of international expert network, to start answering this question.

MAKE DO is a longitudinal research program investigating the short and long term changes in household meal provisioning and preparation behaviors occurring in the aftermath of COVID-19 in Portugal.

MAKE DO entails diagnostic, prognostic and prescriptive studies:

  1. Using the COM-B model (Michie et al., 2011) to assess how individuals’ cognitive and physical ability to plan, shop and cook meals (CAPABIILITY), their motivation and self-regulatory efforts to enact these activities (MOTIVATION), and the barriers and facilitators they identify, or experience during them (OPPORTUNITY) affect household meal provisioning and preparation (BEHAVIOR), before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic;
  2. Applying the Food Agency framework (Trubek et al., 2017) to predict how current physical and social contexts will determine the development of new meal provision and preparation skills and the emergence of a novel food literacy, and the mediating role played by the forced, accelerated and massive adoption of related digital technologies driven by the pandemic;
  3. Creating graphic visualization tools that track changes in household meal provisioning and preparation behavior and related drivers in different population groups in Portugal, based on MAKE DO data, and forecast their impact on key diet quality, health status, food security and family well-being indicators, to inform citizens, businesses and policy makers.


We would love to scale up MAKE DO to other countries; do contact us to set up research collaborations for cross-cultural studies. We would also like to increase our capacity to compile and disseminate digital information on the evolution of food consumption behavior during the pandemic.




Relevant Links


Consumer Behavior; Psychology of Food Behavior; Nutrition and Health; Food Consumption; Home Cooking; Mobile Apps; Portugal; COVID-19; MakeDo

Associated Users


CATÓLICA-LISBON School of Business and Economics, Universidade Católica Portuguesa


foodbehaviourlab, VAN Marketing & Digital, CUBE – CATÓLICA-LISBON’s School of Business and Economics Research Unit, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, FFMS – Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos, Departmento de Nutrição em Saúde Pública – Instituto de Saúde Pública da Universidade do Porto (ISPUP), Faculdade de Ciências da Alimentação e da Nutrição da Universidade do Porto (FCNAUP)


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