Name: Matt Keeble
Based at: University of Cambridge: MRC Epidemiology Unit, Centre for Diet and Activity Research.
Supervisors: Dr Jean Adams (University of Cambridge), Dr Thomas Burgoine (University of Cambridge), Dr Heather Brown (Fuse, Newcastle University).
Project title: Investigating new ways of purchasing takeaway food.
Project summary: The out-of-home food retail market is well established in many countries, including the UK. Historically, out-of-home, takeaway, food purchases were made in-person, from food outlets available on the high street. However, the emergence of online food delivery services like JustEat and Deliveroo, for example, could have disrupted this.
Online food delivery services provide the option to purchase food from outlets that may not have been accessible in-person, or offered a delivery service, in the past. This could increase the number and range of food outlet options, and purchase of food not typically aligned with dietary recommendations. As a result, public health challenges associated with existing levels of unhealthy food consumption could be exacerbated.
To date, there has been limited academic investigation in to online food delivery service use. Market research suggests that purchasing food prepared out-of-home through online food delivery services will continue to grow in popularity. Establishing an understanding about them is therefore timely. This project will first investigate who uses online food delivery services and their reasons why. It will then explore how online food delivery services could increase food access and widen food related inequalities.
Practice engagement: To gather the perspectives of professionals in practice, findings will be presented at the East of England Public Health England regional centre. This will offer the opportunity to disseminate work from the project and allow online food delivery services to be informally discussed. Members of the research team also have close links with the Public Health England Healthy Places team and several local authorities across England. Once initial results have been finalised, appropriate individuals will be contacted with the aim of discussing interpretation and application of findings.
A formal placement has not been confirmed. However, the benefits of spending time in practice, either within a local authority, appropriate public health body or charity are recognised. Therefore, options are currently being explored with the view of completing a placement at an appropriate time in 2020.
Public engagement: Initial project findings will be presented to the Addenbrookes Patient and Public Engagement group. Their feedback will be valuable and help determine the focus of later projects. Moreover, to broaden dissemination of findings, groups outside of Cambridge will be engaged with. This will include Parent-Teacher Association and neighbourhood groups. The extensive School for Public Health Research network will be used to help identify and engage with appropriate groups.
Finally, as part of this project, members of the public will be recruited to discuss their perspectives about online food delivery services. Findings will be disseminated in a series of infographics and a ‘plain-English’ summary, and shared through social media platforms. To further assist description of online food delivery services, and disseminate findings, production of a short video is being explored.
Find out more about Matt Keeble’s work.