We have evaluated our outcomes since the first pilot and have found them to be consistent over time (including long term studies) and across locations and tutors.
The intervention is designed to produce long term behavioural change, and is based on research, both proprietary and academic, leading to exceptional outcomes.
The main outcomes we measure for are
1. Improved diet. We use a measure of vegetables consumed as a proxy for this as they are the healthiest things you can
eat. We also look at reduction in “junk food” consumption – takeaways and ready meals
Typically, students increase their vegetable consumption by over 30%.
Consumption of junk food appears to cease completely – students typically report greater savings than they admitted to at the start of the course.
2. Financial savings. As these are closely linked to mental health (Mind: 80% of their service users have debt issues), they
can also be seen as a proxy for that. We measure both household food bill savings and also those spent on takeaways
and ready meals.
Typical savings are 25% on food bills and over 100% on takeaways. For a typical household, this equates to £1,400 per annum, roughly evenly divided between the two.
3. Improved confidence in the kitchen. We also believe that increased participant confidence, in any area, boosts overall confidence. Participants believe they are great cooks after the course.
Students report a 44% increase in their cooking skills. 84% of participants report learning basic cooking skills.
4. Lower food waste. Whilst this is also an important component of cost, we are separately interested in this for environmental/ sustainability reasons
69% of students report wasting less after the course
5. Lower social isolation. This is evidenced both by actual participation in the course, but also by asking them if they
enjoyed meeting other participants.
92% of participants reported enjoying meeting other people
the following outputs are not formally measured by our evaluation forms, though we can measure them by numbers of
6. Increased volunteering. There is much evidence that this increases wellbeing.
Around 10% of participants to go on to volunteer with us
7. Creation of communities. We create both a volunteering community, but also a community of ex-participants. We
have an active ex participants group on facebook where students can post questions, download recipes, watch our own
cooking videos, watch videos of basic kitchen techniques, receive encouragement and post pictures of what they
cooked themselves. The group has over 200 members. We are working to build something on the website for those not
on facebook. We also have a volunteers group on facebook where volunteers can interact, watch training videos, and
arrange outings and regular volunteers dinners together. We have over 130 volunteers, primarily ex participants
We believe the following are further outcomes, which we do not currently measure for:
8. Improved diet of family members. The bags that are bought by participants which are taken home to be cooked, are
often cooked for other people. As our recipes are all healthy, are calorie counted and contain a high proportion of veg,
we do believe that we are also improving the diets of those being cooked for.
9. Increased wellbeing of participants. Our courses cover 3 of the “5 ways to Wellbeing” – developed by the Centre for
Wellbeing at the New Economics Foundation, in which team the founder of Bags of Taste worked for some years. They
are: connect (meet people), keep learning, give (volunteering; helping team members in class)
For further detail on our evaluation outcomes, please contact us
Some of our students testimonials below.