Healthy takeaway service – Birmingham, UK

Key Insights

  • Nutritious take-away service
  • Testing market demand for healthy alternatives
  • Healthier convenience options for families


The UK has seen a boom in online services for take-aways and food delivery but menu items are typically unhealthy, such as pizza, chips and deep fried foods. The city of Birmingham has one of the highest child overweight and obesity rates in the country. In 2018, the city council piloted a healthy, affordable takeaway meal scheme via a popular online portal. The pilot was a success, with high ratings from customers. It led to work to identify a business model for a new social enterprise to take up the idea.


This case study version is from the Menu of Actions (2019). Suggested citation: Halliday, J., Platenkamp, L., Nicolarea, Y. (2019) A menu of actions to shape urban food systems for improved nutrition, GAIN, MUFPP and RUAF.

Healthy takeaway meal, Shutterstock/Maram

The action and its aims

Birmingham piloted a takeaway service that delivered hot nutritious dinners to families at an affordable price, to provide a convenient alternative to usual unhealthy takeaways such as pizza, chips, and deep-fried foods. The aim was to test market demand for healthier alternatives among families and other users.

When it was introduced

The pilot ran for 10 weeks in 2018.

Why it was needed

The new service was deemed necessary because the boom in online services for takeaways and food delivery has made it more convenient than ever for people to order unhealthy food, and healthy options are few. Birmingham has one of the highest rates of child obesity in the UK. In 2017-8, 25% of children aged 10 experienced obesity and 15% had overweight status.

Who initiated it, who is involved

Birmingham City Council commissioned behaviour change charity Shift Design to develop the concept and test it on takeaway website The action is part of work by the council’s Tackling Obesogenic Environment Team that seeks to influence a cultural shift in food preferences.

Impacts to date

By the seventh week of the pilot, the service had delivered 90 meals and average ratings were 5.7/6 stars. This led to the conclusion that there is market demand for the service, and the partners are working to identify the right model for a new social enterprise.

Do you have an update to this case study?

Contact us

Further reading

What can you do?

Learn about more themes and topics

Share your city’s case study and lessons learned

Sign up to receive updates

Learn more about upcoming events and other highlights 

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Food System

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a significant number of interconnected objectives related to agriculture and food.

Contact details



Related case studies