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Supporting a healthier takeaway meal choice: creating a universal Health Rating for online takeaway fast-food outlets

Lookup NU author(s): Louis Goffe, Nadege Uwamahoro, Chris Dixon, Dr Alasdair Blain, Professor Dave Kirk, Professor Ashley Adamson

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Abstract

Digital food ordering platforms are used by millions across the world and provide easy access to takeaway fast-food that is broadly, though not exclusively, characterised as energy dense and nutrient poor. Outlets are routinely rated for hygiene, but not for their healthiness. Nutritional information is mandatory in pre-packaged foods, with many companies voluntarily using traffic light labels to support making healthier choices. We wanted to identify a feasible universal method to objectively score takeaway fast-food outlets listed on Just Eat that could provide users with an accessible rating that can infer an outlet’s 'healthiness'. Using a sample of takeaway outlets listed on Just Eat, we obtained four complete assessments by nutrition researchers of each outlet’s healthiness to create an cumulative score, that ranged from 4 to 12. We then identified and manually extracted nutritional attributes from each outlet's digital menu, e.g. number of vegetables that have the potential to be numerated. Using generalized linear modelling we identify which attributes were linear predictors of an outlet’s healthiness assessment from nutritional researchers. The availability of water, salad, and the diversity of vegetables were positively associated with academic researchers’ assessment of an outlet’s healthiness, whereas the availability of chips, desserts, and multiple meal sizes were negatively associated. This study shows promise for the feasibility of an objective measure of healthiness that could be applied to all outlet listings on Just Eat and other digital food outlet aggregation platforms. However, further research is required to assess the metric’s validity, its desirability and value to users, and ultimately its potential influence on food choice behaviour.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Goffe L, Uwamahoro NS, Dixon CJ, Blain AP, Danielsen J, Kirk D, Adamson AJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Year: 2020

Volume: 17

Issue: 24

Online publication date: 11/12/2020

Acceptance date: 09/12/2020

Date deposited: 09/12/2020

ISSN (print): 1661-7827

ISSN (electronic): 1660-4601

Publisher: MDPI AG

URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17249260

DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17249260


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