UBC Undergraduate Research

Emergency Pantry Purchasing Guide Coulbourn, Andria; Drage, Ally; Ghanem, Salma; Kabir, Parisa


This project is aimed at providing a pantry purchasing guide for UBC students as a resource for nutritional, affordable, and culturally appropriate recommendations. This guide is intended to be used in any form of emergency, whether it be the recent pandemic of COVID-19, a natural disaster, power outage, or any situation which puts UBC students at risk of food insecurity. Our goal for the overall project was to investigate where students are at in terms of emergency preparedness and food literacy, how we can recommend culturally appropriate foods, and whether there are pantry guides out there that fit our criteria. To reach this goal, the methodology chosen was a survey distributed to UBC students regarding these topics as well as a literature review on cultural appropriateness and an environmental scan on pre-existing pantry purchasing guides. The main content of the pantry purchasing guide was created through UBC student’s suggestions as the objective of the project was a by-student-for-student guide. We also added more food items to the guide that went beyond the student list, the items we added were to include more cultural foods as well as some healthier options. Findings demonstrated that UBC students’ generally come into university with basic levels of food literacy and knowledge but feel low food preparedness levels in the case of an emergency. Results also demonstrated UBC students’ food preferences and cultural identification, as well as their opinions on culturally appropriate foods. Finally, by comparing and contrasting current emergency pantry purchasing guides, showed what gaps are present and if there are any areas of opportunities that can be filled for the purpose of this project. Students additionally reported on whether a pantry purchasing guide is an effective or necessary tool for this project or whether another resource may be more effective. With the data, a pantry purchasing guide was created with 17 non-perishable or long lasting items recommended for UBC students. Suggestions were made regarding future research potential for UBC students as well as future actions to be taken, such as programming and workshops on food literacy education, more distributional material, as well as a facilitation of access to culturally appropriate foods by UBC. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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