Can Personalized Meal Kits Reduce Healthcare Costs?

Here at Sun Basket, we’re pretty familiar with the benefits of meal kits, how they can make cooking easier and more fun, cut back on food waste, and offer the opportunity to try new ingredients. But we’ve also wondered if meal kits can do even more, like make it easier to get nutritious food on the table and maybe even help cut down on medical bills.

It’s turns out that we’re not the only ones curious about that. In April 2018, Health Affairs published a study led by Seth A. Berkowitz et. al, that examined how meal delivery programs can reduce the use of costly health care.

The study looked at people who were eligible for medicare and medicaid facing food insecurity due to health and social issues. The participants either received A) “medically tailored meals” developed by a registered dietitian and customized to their health condition, or B) “non-tailored,” generic, nutritious meals for six months. At the end of the study, researchers measured how these various meal delivery services impacted medical spending.

We’re not surprised to report that the findings don’t surprise us. Both the group that received the medically tailored meals, and the group that received the non-tailored meals, were associated with significant reductions in emergency room visits compared to similar participants who did not receive meal delivery of any kind (tailored or not). Meal delivery (medically tailored and non-tailored) was also associated with lower use of other big ticket health care services. The lower estimated spending suggests that these programs may reduce emergency room visits and transportation, supporting the idea that these meal kits are likely to be a win-win for both patients and the health-care system.

What’s most noteworthy, however is the added-value observed from the group receiving  “medically tailored” meal kits. While both types of meal delivery services show benefits, the group that received medically-tailored recipes saw an even greater reduction in inpatient admissions and lower medical spending.

At Sun Basket, we believe that when nourishing food becomes accessible and personalized,  everybody wins. Our registered dietitians work closely with the kitchen team to develop nutrient-dense meals that cater to specific health needs. Every week we have a recipe that’s certified to meet the American Heart Association®’s nutritional guidelines, ones that meet the standards set by the American Diabetes Association®, and others for vegetarians, vegans, and people looking to avoid soy, and dairy products. We know that Sun Basket meals can save you time and help you get healthy meals on the table. They just might keep you out of the doctor’s office, too.