Recipe box firm Gousto is working with one of the UK’s busiest food banks on a new pilot scheme that aims to make food parcels healthier.

With current food parcels being designed for people in occasional crisis, they generally consist of NHS approved foods such as essential long-life goods like tinned beans, tinned spaghetti, soups and cereal.

However, Hammersmith and Fulham Foodbank has found that up to a third of its food is going to people who are returning at least once a month as inflation reaches its highest level in 40 years.

Gousto is now working with the organisation, which is part of the Trussell Trust network, to test the mental, physical and social benefits of delivering fresh, healthy food parcels in the form of meal kits.

Funded by the local council and Gousto, the pilot will take place over 12 weeks in Hammersmith and Fulham, kicking off in the summer holidays as families face the added pressure of feeding their children.

Research conducted by the council and supported by Imperial College London Self-Care Research Unit will assess the mental health and wellbeing benefits of the upgraded food parcels and accessible home cooking, along with physical and social impacts. It is hoped that the learnings will help inform the approach of emergency food providers across the country.

The vegetarian meal kits have been designed by Gousto nutritionist and registered dietician, Ellie Bain. Each recipe includes at least two of portions of fruit and vegetables, as well as wholegrains and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, eggs and avocados, Each meal requires less than 30 minutes to cook and can be made without an oven to save energy.