Perspective: Are Online Food Delivery Services Emerging as Another Obstacle to Achieving the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?

Front Nutr. 2022 Mar 3:9:858475. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.858475. eCollection 2022.


Online food delivery usage has soared during the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has seen increased demand for home-delivery during government mandated stay-at-home periods. Resulting implications from COVID-19 may threaten decades of development gains. It is becoming increasingly more important for the global community to progress toward sustainable development and improve the wellbeing of people, economies, societies, and the planet. In this perspective article, we discuss how the rising use of these platform-to-consumer delivery operations may impede advances toward the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specifically, online food delivery services may disrupt SDGs that address good health and wellbeing, responsible consumption and production, climate action and decent work and economic growth. To mitigate potential negative impacts of these meal delivery apps, we have proposed a research and policy agenda that is aligned with entry points within a systems approach identified by the World Health Organization. Food industry reforms, synergised public health messaging and continuous monitoring of the growing impact of online food delivery should be considered for further investigation by researchers, food industry, governments, and policy makers.

Keywords: global health; online food delivery; public health; sustainable development goals; systems approach.