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Consumption Frequency and Purchase Locations of Foods Prepared Outside the Home in Australia, 2018 International Food Policy Study

journal contribution
posted on 11.03.2022, 00:00 authored by Adrian CameronAdrian Cameron, Laura Oostenbach, Sarah DeanSarah Dean, Ella Robinson, Christine M White, Lana Vanderlee, David Hammond, Gary SacksGary Sacks

Foods prepared outside the home (e.g., fast-food chains, restaurants) represent increasing proportions of diets worldwide, and have been associated with higher energy intake and body mass index (BMI). To improve the healthiness of population diets, it is important to understand patterns of consumption of these foods, and whether related policy measures are effective.

This study aimed to identify frequency and source of consumption of foods prepared outside the home in Australia, and to understand the impact of nutrition information in restaurants on related food choices.

Data were from a web-based survey (the International Food Policy Study) completed in 2018 by Australian adults aged ≥18y (n = 4103). The number of meals prepared outside the home, their purchase location, and the extent to which nutrition information was noticed and influenced purchasing decisions were each analysed by socio-demographic characteristics and BMI, with linear models also adjusted for sex, age group, education, ethnicity and BMI.

An average of 2.73 (95% CI: 2.61, 2.86) meals per week were prepared outside the home, with higher frequencies among men, younger ages, and more highly-educated participants. A wide variety of sources for these foods was observed, with fast-food outlets being most common. Around one quarter of all foods prepared outside the home were delivered. A small percentage (14.9%; 95% CI: 13.3, 16.7%) of participants reported noticing nutrition information, but among those who did, around half reported that it influenced their behaviour.

Foods prepared outside the home are commonly purchased in Australia, particularly by young adults, from a variety of outlet types. While current menu energy labelling regulations may provide some population health benefit, a broader policy focus on foods prepared outside the home is needed as part of efforts to improve population diets.



The Journal of Nutrition


Oxford University Press (OUP)


Oxford, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal