Hospital food service: a comparative analysis of systems and introducing the ‘Steamplicity’ concept food

Patient meals are an integral part of treatment hence the provision and consumption of a balanced diet, essential to aid recovery.

A number of food service systems are used to provide meals but recently, the Steamplicity concept has been introduced. This seeks, through the application of a static, extended choice menu, revised patient ordering procedures, new cooking processes and individual patient food cooked at ward level, to address some of the current hospital food service concerns.

The purpose of this study was to directly compare selected aspects (food wastage at ward level; satisfaction with systems and food provided) of a cook-chill food service operation against Steamplicity. Results indicate that patients preferred the Steamplicty system in all areas: food choice, ordering, delivery, food quality and overall. Wastage was considerably less with the Steamplicity system; although care must be taken to ensure that poor operating procedures do not negate this advantage. When the total weight of food consumed in the ward at each meal is divided by the number of main courses served, results show that at lunch, mean intake with the cook-chill system was 202g whilst that for the Steamplicity system was 282g and for the evening meal, 226g compared with 310g.

For further information about this research please email Dr Heather Hartwell.