Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems (MSNFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Dietetics and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Dr. Alison Gustafson


The online grocery industry grew exponentially alongside the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. With the implications of this growth still unclear, this study aimed to identify key influences and barriers towards the adoption of online grocery shopping, and to understand how online grocery shopping may affect food security and dietary intake. Across seven counties in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Maryland, 183 participants were surveyed about their usage of online grocery shopping before and after COVID-19, their opinions about online grocery shopping, their dietary intake, and food security. Survey answers were stratified between SNAP and non-SNAP recipients and urban and rural residents, and multivariate and logistic regressions determined the relationship between online grocery shopping and outcomes of interest. Results of the analysis showed that while SNAP and non-SNAP participants utilized online shopping at about the same rate, rural participants shopped for groceries online significantly less than urban participants both before and after the beginning of the pandemic, suggesting a need for online retailers to adopt policies to accommodate rural consumers. Significant barriers to online grocery shopping in rural communities were identified as a lack of delivery services and difficulty using the grocery website. No association was found between online grocery shopping and dietary intake or food security.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was supported by Share Our Strength in 2021.