Introduction: Over the past decade online food ordering and delivery services have become increasingly common, with estimates that the market will be worth $2.4 billion in Australia by 2026. Although online meal delivery services are making an increasing contribution to Australian diets, there is a paucity of information on how these services are being used.
Methods: A total of 2,010 Australians aged 18+ years completed an online questionnaire that included questions on behaviours relating to online food delivery. The demographic characteristics of respondents were similar to the national average in terms of age, gender, socioeconomic status and location.
Results: On average, respondents ordered food online once per month, with younger age groups significantly more likely to participate in the practice. When ordering online, almost two-thirds reported choosing foods that are less healthy than they eat at home, two in five over-order and over-eat, and one-third upsize meals. Although 18-34 year olds ordered more food online, compared to older age groups they were more likely to enjoy preparing food, consider themselves to be good cooks and feel confident about preparing a healthy meal.
Conclusions and recommendations: Despite being interested in and confident to prepare healthy meals, the results of this study indicate that younger Australians are frequently using online food delivery services, and consume less healthy options when they purchase these meals. Given that early adulthood is emerging as a key time for weight gain, younger Australians should be encouraged to make healthy food choices when ordering food online.