New formula: home delivery for the elderly

New formula: home delivery for the elderly

The average Dutch citizen is growing older and malnutrition is already a considerable problem among the pensioners, a problem that will only become larger in the near future. That is why Wageningen UR, alongside corporate partners and the health care industry, is trialing a new formula: home food delivery.

Voeding Slim Thuis

The new care initiative is called "Voeding Slim Thuis" (Food Smart at Home) and will be trialed in Bennekom at first. Wageningen UR will coordinate the formula, in which food and care for the elderly will basically be home-delivered. WUR has entered a collaboration with ICT companies, care takers and food companies for this particular project.


The goal is make sure elderly people can receive all the required items at home, like meals or groceries, but also healthcare and all the medical attention they need, whether it is actual medicine or specialized advice regarding healthcare or food.


Distrivers is the food partner which will take care of the meal and possible grocery deliveries. A subsidiary of service wholesale company Hanos, it can rely on another subsidiary, Ding Dong, to prepare and deliver meals for people with a healthcare need. Not only elderly people can make use of this service, as people with allergies or afflictions may also need specific care and an adjusted food intake. Ding Dong, named after the doorbell sound, provides two meals at home on a weekly basis.


"To that end, we use coupled delivery days, meaning Monday-Thursday, Tuesday-Friday and Wednesday-Saturday", Ding Dong sales lead Marco Borkes says. "We customize meals, focusing entirely on the dietary needs and desires, for our consumers with a healthcare need. Three distribution centers (Almelo, Hoogeveen and Nieuw Vennep) service all of our customers, although we do not have a distribution center for the southern provinces yet, but if the demand grows, we will become active in that region as well."


Not only meals, but also groceries

People who order meals can also order groceries. "These groceries will be delivered at the same time as the meals without any additional fee as the meals already contain the delivery cost", Borkes says. "That is also the reason why you can only get groceries delivered if you have a meal delivery, but that will change early next year. From then on, meal deliveries will be possible for everyone and we will also enable grocery deliveries with Ding Dong without having the need to order meals."


Once that is possible, Ding Dong will become a new competitor in the market for grocery home-delivery. "In that case, we will indeed have to charge a "service fee", but we have not finalized how we will do that. It might be a fixed delivery fee or we might make it free of charge once a certain order amount has been reached. It could even be a combination of both where the service cost is factored into the product pricing. We have not yet decided how we are going to calculate it all, but you do have to earn back the additional service cost."


Albert Heijn: customized meals

Caterers and supermarket organization have not been involved in "Voeding Slim Thuis", but according to Albert Heijn spokesperson Dagna Hoogkamer that does not mean that Albert Heijn does not look out for customers with healthcare needs. "We want to be a store for everyone and that is also why take this group of customers into consideration in our product range and services. That is why we have 60 different meal components with AH Maaltijden op maat (AH customized meals), which allows habitation groups, care and nursing homes to customize meals however they see fit."


Unlike Albert Heijn's focus on groups in care facilities, Ding Dong also caters to households with merely one or two individuals. Voeding Slim Thuis wants to reach elderly people and is looking for new ways to monitor an elderly citizen's food intake online.


Ding Dong already does this automatically. "We have a close rapport with the people themselves and with family members or caretakers", Borkes states. "The courier is also a vital part in the process, as he can detect how people are doing and whether they have been eating well. He is also the one to receive the orders, which most current customers mainly do by hand. To that end, we currently use contact forms, but we will introduce tablet orders to this target audience and their surroundings starting next year."