People are cooking at home less often and relying more on food prepared outside of the home, which is often of less nutritional value than home-cooked meals. The foodservice industry has endeavored to address barriers with the introduction of commercial meal kit subscription services (MKSSs). We aimed to assess and compare the nutritional qualities of MKSSs available in Australia. Average nutritional qualities per serve of 12 recipes (from four weekly boxes of three meals serving two people) were analyzed from five MKKSs (Dinnerly, HelloFresh™, MarleySpoon™, Pepper Leaf, Thomas Farms Kitchen). On average, MKSSs provided adequate serves of core foods, particularly of vegetables (2.3 ± 1.6-3.1 ± 1.8 serves per serve). Energy content ranged between 2891 ± 539 and 3904 kJ ± 890 per serve. All MKKSs were high in fat (39.5 ± 9.5-59.6 ± 11.2% of energy) and sodium (723 ± 404-1426 ± 688 mg per serve). All MKSSs met suggested dietary target level of dietary fiber for women, but none for men. If MKSS providers can modify recipes to reduce added salt and fat and increase dietary fiber, they have the potential to provide both men and women with nutritious meals that more closely align with the dietary guidelines for the prevention of chronic disease, especially if meals are used as an alternative to energy-dense nutrient-poor takeaway and convenience foods.
Keywords: Australia; cooking; food supply; meal kits; nutrition; nutritional composition.