Investigating experiences of frequent online food delivery service use: a qualitative study in UK adults.
BMC Public Health
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Keeble, M., Adams, J., & Burgoine, T. (2022). Investigating experiences of frequent online food delivery service use: a qualitative study in UK adults.. BMC Public Health https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-13721-9
BACKGROUND: Food prepared out-of-home is typically energy-dense and nutrient-poor. This food can be purchased from multiple types of retailer, including restaurants and takeaway food outlets. Using online food delivery services to purchase food prepared out-of-home is increasing in popularity. This may lead to more frequent unhealthy food consumption, which is positively associated with poor diet and living with obesity. Understanding possible reasons for using online food delivery services might contribute to the development of future public health interventions, if deemed necessary. This knowledge would be best obtained by engaging with individuals who use online food delivery services as part of established routines. Therefore, we aimed to investigate customer experiences of using online food delivery services to understand their reasons for using them, including any advantages and drawbacks. METHODS AND RESULTS: In 2020, we conducted telephone interviews with 22 adults living in the UK who had used online food delivery services on at least a monthly basis over the previous year. Through codebook thematic analysis, we generated five themes: 'The importance of takeaway food', 'Less effort for more convenience', 'Saving money and reallocating time', 'Online food delivery service normalisation' and 'Maintained home food practices'. Two concepts were overarching throughout: 'Place. Time. Situation.' and 'Perceived advantages outweigh recognised drawbacks'. After considering each of the accessible food purchasing options within the context of their location and the time of day, participants typically selected online food delivery services. Participants reported that they did not use online food delivery services to purchase healthy food. Participants considered online food delivery service use to be a normal practice that involves little effort due to optimised purchasing processes. As a result, these services were seen to offer convenient access to food aligned with sociocultural expectations. Participants reported that this convenience was often an advantage but could be a drawback. Although participants were price-sensitive, they were willing to pay delivery fees for the opportunity to complete tasks whilst waiting for delivery. Furthermore, participants valued price-promotions and concluded that receiving them justified their online food delivery service use. Despite takeaway food consumption, participants considered home cooking to be irreplaceable. CONCLUSIONS: Future public health interventions might seek to increase the healthiness of food available online whilst maintaining sociocultural values. Extending restrictions adopted in other food environments to online food delivery services could also be explored.
Matthew Keeble was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Public Health Research (SPHR) [grant number PD-SPH-2015]. This work was supported by the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge [grant number MC/UU/00006/7]. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of any of the above named funders. The funders had no role in the design of the study, or collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, or in writing the manuscript.
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (PD-SPH-2015-10029 BH154142)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-13721-9
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/338687
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/