Research project on Food Insecurity among international students in Oslo, Norway

Charlotte Bauch

Food Insecurity is defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as the lack of „regular access to enough safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life.” Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic Food Insecurity in Northern America and Europe increased for the first time since 2014. Especially people with a low income, like university students, have often lost their jobs or had to reduce work hours and were therefore negatively affected by the pandemic. Money has a great impact on different areas of life, such as the food habits and the food insecurity of a person. As food is often the first area where people cut down when money is scarce.


It was already shown before the Covid-19 pandemic, that University students have been badly affected by Food Insecurity. In America between 30-40% of University Students were experiencing some form of Food Insecurity, compared to 15% of the average population. Sadly, there is to date only one concrete study that assesses Food Insecurity among University students in Europe. This shows the urgent need to gather information on Food Insecurity and correlated factors among university students in Europe. Correlated factors to Food Insecurity include for example; Race/ ethnicity, living accommodations, working hours/ employment status, health status/ stress, consumption of Fast Food, time next to studies, diet quality, and student status.


As a sub-study of the “Food Insecurity among European University Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic” (FINESCOP) project is going to establish the Food habits and Food Insecurity status among university students in Oslo, Norway. The aim is to assess through interviews, how international students purchase, prepare, and consume food. Moreover, it should be established how these habits differ from the students’ country of origin. Due to high grocery prices in Norway and less variety in supermarkets, it is very likely, that students must cut down on some foods to try to save money or some foods usually consumed are not available. In addition to that, it will be examined how the above-mentioned correlated factors with Food Insecurity impact international students in Oslo. The goal is to find out whether and if so to what extent international students are affected by Food Insecurity and what coping mechanisms they use to deal with the situation. Furthermore, it will be asked if the Covid-19 Pandemic has had an impact on their Food Security status.
From the transcribed and analyzed data a suggestion for possible implementations which could improve the Food Insecurity status of international students and support them in coping with the Food system in Norway shall be developed.

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