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HZAU Makes Progress in Food System Resilience During COVID-19

Recently, food economy and management team from HZAU published its new finding on Global Food Security, an academical journal in the field of food security. This study discussed how online food delivery platforms contributed to the resilience of the urban food system in China during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 and related prevention measures posed a great challenge to global food supply chain. Consequently, most restaurants were closed during the lockdown. The restaurants that remained open shifted their established food services to delivery, takeout, and outdoor dining options to fulfill consumers’ demand. In response to unexpected external shocks like COVID-19, effective online food delivery platform enhanced the resilience of supply chains in urban food systems by improving food accessibility and availability.
This research is based on daily high-frequency online food delivery data of platform (one of the major online food delivery platforms in China). A staggered difference-in-differences (DID) estimation strategy and event study approach are used to identify the effects of lockdown and reopening measures on the performance of online food delivery platforms and restaurants. The results indicate that some restaurants continued to operate and offer online food delivery throughout lockdowns. Both the number of operating restaurants and their online food delivery services rebounded, and those restaurants experienced further growth after lockdowns were lifted. The adjustment path of the online food delivery business following the implementation of lockdowns differed from the adjustment path following the lifting of lockdowns. The lockdown and reopening measures did not affect all types of restaurant/cuisine equally. The study also examine possible impact mechanisms of lockdown measures on online food delivery and restaurants, and conduct robustness checks to confirm the stability of the main findings.
Take online delivery platform as an example, this study provides micro evidence on the effects of COVID-19 on online food delivery industries and expands studies on the effects of COVID-19 on food consumption. It also provides a policy reference for dealing with the external impact of the food system. This study confirmed the positive contribution of online food delivery to the resilience of urban food systems in response to unexpected external shocks. From a global perspective, it have implications for the design of policies to guarantee global food supply and help urban food systems adapt to unexpected shocks.
Prof. Min Shi of the College of Economics & Management is the corresponding author, and Zhao Fangxiao, a graduate from the Class of 2022 of the College of Economics & Management is the second author. Co-authors are researcher Wang Xiaobing and Prof. Huang Jikun of Peking University, Prof. Tian Xu and Prof. Fan Shenggen of the Academy of Global Food Economics and Policy (AGFEP) of China Agricultural University, and Prof. Stephan von Cramon-Taubadel of University of Göttingen.

Translated by: Zhang Li, Zhang Qiongfang
Supervised by:Wang Xiaoyan