Do home-delivered ‘food boxes’ have the potential to inspire healthier eating habits, raise nutritional awareness and increase cooking confidence
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Background – Rising obesity levels in the UK are cause for concern. The availability of convenience foods, limited individual cooking skills and lack of education about healthy meal preparation have been proposed as contributing factors. Home food delivery boxes can deliver healthy ingredients direct to the home along with step-by-step instructions on how to prepare a meal. Methods – Students in the third year of BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition & Dietetic degree were selected, using purposeful sampling, to contribute to a focus group session. A cross-sectional study considered participant views on whether home food delivery boxes had the potential to inspire healthier eating habits and if there was potential to increase individual cooking confidence through using the box. The data was analysed to find common themes and these were compared with previous research. Results – Six participants were involved in the study. In general, views were that home delivery meal boxes offered a healthier meal compared to typical convenience foods and additionally promoted awareness of aspects of the nutritional contents of an evening meal. Participant responses revealed that the boxes encouraged experimentation with cooking different styles of meals, which may not have previously been considered and suggested that a food delivery box could increase confidence in cooking through the inclusion of step-by-step instructions. All participants agreed that the meals took an appropriate amount of time to prepare. The focus group raised concerns over the cost of this service and the security of ensuring safe delivery of the food box. Conclusions – This research established that home food delivery boxes do have the potential to deliver healthy meals to the home, can aid with an increase in nutritional awareness and raise individual cooking confidence. Key barriers to regular use of this service include the cost and security aspects concerning delivery. Participants felt the service would appeal to young professionals with an interest in healthy living. The time taken to prepare a meal using this service was lower than expected, suggesting that avoidance of cooking from scratch due to time pressures, could be challenged.
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