Unhealthy Food at Your Fingertips: Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Nutritional Quality of Restaurants and Takeaway Outlets on an Online Food Delivery Platform in New Zealand

Nisha Mahawar, Si Si Jia, Andriana Korai, Celina Wang, Margaret Allman-Farinelli, Virginia Chan, Rebecca Raeside, Philayrath Phongsavan, Julie Redfern, Alice A Gibson, Stephanie R Partridge, Rajshri Roy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Online food delivery (OFD) platforms have become increasingly popular due to advanced technology, which is changing the way consumers purchase food prepared outside of the home. There is limited research investigating the healthiness of the digital food environment and its influence on consumer choice and dietary behaviours. This study is the first to examine the nutritional quality and marketing attributes of menu items from popular independent and franchise restaurants and takeaway outlets on New Zealand’s market leading OFD platform (UberEATS®). A total of 374 popular independent and franchise restaurants and takeaway outlets were identified to form a database of complete menus and marketing attributes. All 25,877 menu items were classified into 38 food and beverage categories based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Of complete menus, 73.3% (18,955/25,877) were discretionary. Thirty-six percent (9419/25,877) were discretionary cereal-based mixed meals, the largest of the 38 categories. Discretionary menu items were more likely to be categorized as most popular (OR: 2.0, 95% CI 1.7−2.2), accompanied by a photo (OR: 1.7, 95% CI 1.6−1.8), and offered as a value bundle (OR: 4.6, 95% CI 3.2−6.8). Two of the three discretionary mixed meal categories were significantly less expensive than their healthier counterparts (p < 0.001). The overwhelming availability and promotion of discretionary choices offered by restaurants and takeaway outlets on OFD platforms have implications for public health policy. Further research to explore direct associations between nutritional quality and consumers’ dietary choices is required.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4567
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalNutrients
Volume14
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

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