Chris Mordd Richards

About Chris Mordd Richards

Chris Mordd Richards is an independent freelance journalist in Canberra. Chris has been writing and publishing regularly since 2016 on a variety of online news sites, as he hones his skills and learns the craft of journalism. Chris comes from a background of being homeless as a teen, relies on the Disability Support Pension as an adult and battles mental health challenges every day due to his Autism and Anxiety Disorders. Chris writes from the lived experience of those on the lower end of the ladder in life, the oppressed, the marginalised, the mistreated, the misunderstood. Through his writing, Chris endeavours to give voice to those who normally lack one in modern society.

NDIS meal quality leaves a bad taste in the mouth

My NDIS funding allows me to source meals from certain providers. However, the food standard supplied is often unpalatable.

 

 

We need to talk about the quality of the pre-prepared meals available on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Delivered weekly, the meals are partly subsidised by the NDIS and partly paid for by the client.

In the ACT, the two main providers are The Good Food Co and Kinela, but the quality of food is frankly completely unpalatable in a lot of cases.

In my opinion, it is far worse than the equivalent supermarket-brand ready-to-cook meals sold by Woolworths and Coles.  I’d go further, and say that it is on par with the nursing home food made famous by the Royal Commission

Cooking for myself is something I struggle with due to my autism, so I was naturally interested in these meal services after I was approved for NDIS funding.

I had hoped to use them as a way to eat healthier meals while I worked on my cooking skills with a support worker.

I ordered around half of the available items from each provider. I could only eat around half of the meals, owing to the extremely poor food quality. I cancelled the arrangements with each provider after two weeks.

The meat was clearly the cheapest possible cut and cooked to the point of flavour evaporation, the vegetables (making up around three-quarters of each meal) were frankly less appealing than what I’ve had in the past from dumpster diving for food.

 

In my opinion, neither The Good Food Co or Kinela would remain in the food service industry without the support from the government.

 

This is not a unique situation, as the elderly care sector is facing the same challenges. As far as I can estimate, the ingredients per meal used by both providers in no more than $3. What’s more, it’s been noted that even the smallest investment in the ingredients can dramatically improve the quality of a meal at this level.

I also used the commercial sector equivalent of these meal providers, and the quality of those meals was excellent in comparison.

In my opinion, neither The Good Food Co or Kinela would remain in the food service industry without the support from the government.

Yet, when it comes to the nation’s elderly or those with disabilities, shit quality food is perfectly acceptable.

I have now instead been able to use my NDIS plan to have a support worker to help me prepare some meals for the week, but I have more agency than many though – I am lucky to have that option.

For those largely reliant on carers, the NDIS providers are all they have.

It’s time to demand better, and we need to call out those responsible. The disabled and the elderly deserve better than this.

 

 

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