VicHealth survey reveals impact of Coronavirus pandemic on Victorians
In 2020, VicHealth undertook a survey of 2000 Victorians to understand eating habits and barriers as a result of COVID-19. The survey revealed one in two (50 per cent) Victorians started meal planning during the pandemic, and almost one in three (28 per cent) had been cooking more dinners, as the financial strain of the pandemic hit home. Of those cooking at home, almost half (46 per cent) were doing so to save money, and 57 per cent reported cooking more as they had more time to prepare meals. The survey also revealed individuals experiencing food insecurity increased, with almost one in three (27 per cent) single-parent families running out of food during the pandemic.
Cook Well, Eat Well project
The Cook Well, Eat Well project grew from a need to support Victorians during the pandemic and beyond. The aim of the project was to improve food literacy (knowledge, skills and capacity) and increase healthy eating among Victorians, particularly vulnerable communities including culturally and linguistically diverse groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations, low socioeconomic population groups, and those facing financial hardship during COVID-19.
After consulting 25 key community and health organisations, including the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Foodbank Victoria, the Cook Well, Eat Well team from Nutrition Australia Vic Division and VicHealth developed a healthy eating hub – www.cookwelleatwell.org.au.
The site included:
• 66 budget-friendly, culturally appropriate recipes,
• 16 factsheets covering topics including food safety, food waste, seasonal eating and chopping skills,
• 34 recipe and cooking skills videos,
• 32 social media and newsletter content pieces, and
• 53 translated nutrition resources in 11 languages.
The website also included a stakeholder side with downloadable resources, as well as a consumer side with online access to appealing recipes and factsheets.
Within three months of launch of the website, the Cook Well, Eat Well site had 8,833 unique visits for 9,939 sessions, and 543 resources were downloaded. Upon engagement with community and health organisations following the launch, Cook Well, Eat Well received an overwhelming positive response.
The website today continues to generate visits and resource downloads.