Are Meal Kits Health Promoting? Nutritional Analysis of Meals from an Australian Meal Kit Service

Carly Moores, Lucy Bell, Michael Buckingham, Kacie Dickinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Meal kits are popular for consumers seeking greater convenience in preparing meals at home. The market share for meal kit subscription services (MKSSs) is growing in developed nations including Australia, however, literature about their health promoting qualities, e.g. nutritional composition, is scarce. This study aimed to assess the characteristics and nutritional composition of meals offered from an MKSS over 12 months. Nutritional data were extracted from recipes available to order from HelloFresh in Australia from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018. In total, 346 (251 unique) recipes were retrieved. Per serve (median size 580 g), meals contained a median of 2840 kJ (678 kcal) of energy, 58 g carbohydrate (14 g sugar), 44 g protein, 28 g total fat (8 g saturated fat) and 839 mg sodium. Median energy from macronutrients was total fat (38%), carbohydrates (34%), protein (25%) and saturated fat (11%). This paper is the first to describe characteristics of recipes available from an MKSS over a 12-month period of time. With their growing popularity, meal kit delivery services have the capacity to influence consumer food behaviours, diets and subsequently population health. MKSSs may function to promote health though education, training, and enabling home cooking behaviours, and may be a powerful commitment device for home cooking behaviour change. However, it is important for health professionals, including dietitians and nutritionists, to understand the nutritional risks, benefits and suitability of this contemporary mealtime option before recommending them to clients and members of the public as part of health promotion.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Promotion International
Early online date18 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • meal kit
  • home cooking
  • nutrition
  • Macronutrients
  • sodium

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