Sizzle or Fizzle? Supply and Consumption Dynamics of Home Cooked Food on Sharing Platforms

23 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2020

See all articles by Shaobo Li

Shaobo Li

Southern University of Science and Technology

Le Wang

City University of Hong Kong (CityU); affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jianxiong Huang

Nanjing University

Ram Gopal

University of Warwick

Zhijie Lin

Tsinghua University - School of Economics and Management

Date Written: August 27, 2020

Abstract

Faced with the increasingly worsening obesity crisis, many governmental and non-governmental organizations have been promoting home cooking as a key part of the strategy to tackle poor quality diets and obesity. Home cooked food sharing platforms, as a quintessential illustration of the sharing economy, aim at improving public health by providing healthy food to those who do not have time to cook from home. Although the economic benefits derived from sharing economy are widely researched and acknowledged in theory and practice, however, the understanding about how sharing economy affects non-economic welfare (e.g., consumer health) is lacking. In a context of a home cooked food sharing platform, we conduct an empirical study to examine the question of whether sharing economy helps consumers to improve their dietary quality and develop healthy eating habits. We collected data from a popular Chinese mobile kitchen sharing platform and used manual coding and machine learning methods to measure food healthiness of over 180,000 unique dishes. We studied both food provision and consumption on the platform, and found that sellers receiving more orders and earning more revenue tend to reduce the provision of healthy food over time, while consumers who prefer healthy food are more likely to leave the platform. Our unfortunate findings indicate that without interventions, sharing economy may lead to negative and even harmful consequences because of the misaligned interests of home cooks and consumers.

Keywords: obesity, home cooked food, sharing economy, supply and demand

Suggested Citation

Li, Shaobo and Wang, Le and Huang, Jianxiong and Gopal, Ram and Lin, Zhijie, Sizzle or Fizzle? Supply and Consumption Dynamics of Home Cooked Food on Sharing Platforms (August 27, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3681824 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3681824

Shaobo Li

Southern University of Science and Technology ( email )

1088 Xueyuan Avenue
Shenzhen, Guangdong 518055
China

Le Wang

City University of Hong Kong (CityU) ( email )

83 Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon
Hong Kong

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jianxiong Huang

Nanjing University ( email )

Nanjing, Jiangsu 210093
China

Ram Gopal

University of Warwick ( email )

West Midlands, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Zhijie Lin (Contact Author)

Tsinghua University - School of Economics and Management ( email )

Haidian District
Beijing, Beijing 100084
China

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