Exploring family home food environments: Household resources needed to utilise weekly deliveries of free fruits and vegetables

Sophie Carty, Louise Mainvil, John Coveney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: An adapted ethnographic approach was used to explore household factors that influence family fruit and vegetable consumption when access and cost barriers are removed. ‘Structural’ barriers, such as food affordability and accessibility, are likely to influence fruit and vegetable consumption in disadvantaged households, but households may require additional resources (human and social) to increase consumption. Methods: Five low-income and five high-income households with children (N = 39 individuals) were observed in their home environment for three months. Including both advantaged and disadvantaged families allowed exploration of socioeconomic factors influencing these households. Each household received a free box of fresh fruit and vegetables each week for 10–12 weeks, delivered to their home, and were home-visited twice a week by a researcher (40+ hours per household). An inductive analysis of rich observational and discussion data revealed themes describing factors influencing household fruit and vegetable consumption. Results: Household food cultures were dynamic and influenced by available resources. Even when free produce was delivered to homes, these households required human resource (personal drivers influenced by early life exposure and household dynamics) and external social networks to make use of them. When household finances and/or labour were limited, there was greater dependence on external organisations for tangible support. Conclusions: Even when structural barriers were removed, disadvantaged families needed a range of resources across the life course to improve eating behaviours, including sufficient, motivated and skilled labour and harmonious family relationships. Strategies targeting these households must consider structural, social, cultural and intra-familial influences on food choice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-146
Number of pages9
JournalNutrition and Dietetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • adapted ethnography
  • community health
  • family and household
  • food habits
  • home environment
  • poverty
  • qualitative research


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