A cross-sectional comparison of meal delivery options in three international cities

Maartje P. Poelman*, Lukar Thornton, Shannon N. Zenk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Objectives: The recent upsurge in online food delivery options has reshaped the food market. The aim of this study was to examine between-city differences and within-city socioeconomic differences in the number of online meal delivery options, meal types, and meal prices. Subjects/Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in three international cities within high-income countries. Across 10 sampled addresses in Chicago (USA), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), and Melbourne (Australia), meal delivery options provided by a major international meal delivery company were sampled. Bonferroni adjusted Chi2-tests were conducted to assess between-city differences as well as within-city socioeconomic differences in price levels. Results: Across the 10 sampled addresses in each city, there were n = 1668 delivery options in Chicago, n = 1496 in Amsterdam and n = 1159 in Melbourne. In total, 10,220 keywords (representing 148 different meal types) were recorded across all 4323 delivery options. In all three cities, burgers, pizza and Italian were in the top 10 of most advertised meals. Compared with Amsterdam, healthy and meat-free meals were less commonly advertised in Chicago and Melbourne. In Chicago, the number of delivery options for addresses in the most disadvantaged and least disadvantaged neighborhoods were similar. In Amsterdam and Melbourne, a greater number of options was available for the addresses in the least disadvantaged neighborhoods. Conclusions: This study highlights the vast number of meal delivery options individuals can source when at home via a meal delivery service, noting the number differs across and within cities. In each city, most food types available for delivery were not considered healthy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1465-1473
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Early online date24 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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