Almost half of patients and visitors think hospital food is improving

Patients and visitors believe hospital food is improving but issues around quality remain, a new YouGov study finds.

The Hospital Catering report shows that people’s perception of hospital food has increased significantly in the past two years. In 2015, 37% of NHS patients and visitors thought hospital food was improving in quality but now this figure has increased to 49%.

Furthermore, patients say there has been a notable improvement in the range of food available since YouGov last ran the study in 2015. Currently over four in ten (41%) believe there is a good choice of food in hospitals, up from around a third (33%) two years ago. 


The report finds that issues still remain when it comes to hospital catering, though. A third (32%) of NHS visitors and patients believe that the food given to those in hospital isn’t very tasty. Additionally, words hospital workers use to describe the food available are “unappetising” (38%), “stodgy” (25%) and “processed” (25%).

Yet the study finds that people are willing to put their hand in their pocket to combat these shortcomings, with around three quarters (74%) of NHS hospital patients or visitors saying they would pay to improve food choice and standards. However, they wouldn’t be prepared to give much – with approaching two-thirds (64%) willing to pay less than £3.

Oliver Griffiths, Research Manager at YouGov Reports: “Hospital food has long had a notoriously bad reputation but this data shows that patients and visitors believe that things are starting to improve. While perception has begun to change, it must be remembered that it did so from a low starting point. People accept that food is an important part of a hospital stay. But the fact that so many people are willing to pay their own money to be guaranteed getting fresh, quality, healthy meals suggests that there is still a long way to go.”