Food Delivery Services – A History

Food delivery services offer vital assistance to thousands if not millions of people in the country and around the world. Essentially food delivery services are an important support system for those that want help in ensuring they have well cooked, prepared meals delivered to their door. But where does the service originate? And how does it help people on a day to day basis?

The first food delivery services started during the Second World War, particularly throughout the Blitz where many homes were destroyed and large swathes of the population were left with no kitchens in which to cook their meals. The idea was developed from the work of the Women's Volunteer Service who had previously delivered meals to servicemen; transferring the process to families that had lost their homes due to bombing raids.

Following the war the food delivery programmes developed by the Women's Volunteer Service were continued. It is believed that the first use of the service occurred as early as 1947 in Hemel Hempstead. At this stage, rather than the vans that are used today, the meals were delivered using old prams. At this stage the meals that were being delivered were predominantly pre cooked and kept warm. In the modern age most local councils have developed similar services although predominantly councils now use frozen ready meals rather than delivering hot food.

Whilst it was in the UK that the first food delivery networks were created the idea soon spread around the world. In the United States the inaugural home delivery service for food was created in Philadelphia. From 1954 onwards this service strived to feed those that were housebound, ensuring that they received their quota of dietary requirements and would not go hungry. The Philadelphia model was used across the country, first in Columbus and then New York.

Australians were also quick to realise the benefits of food delivery services for the elderly. The first service in this country was started in 1952, apparently delivered by a woman on a tricycle before the Red Cross took over to ensure supply could meet the demand. Many other services started throughout Australia, including one in Port Adelaide and Sydney. Today food delivery programmes are well established and organised on regional basis.