A Delaware County healthy meal delivery service company is getting a big boost through its participation in a new national study that will, for the first time, look at the impact of dietary interventions on patients with Crohn’s disease.
Dr. James Lewis, professor of medicine and senior scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Perelman School of Medicine at theUniversity of Pennsylvania, is serving as principal investigator for the study. Last week, The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America was awarded $2.5 million from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to study the effectiveness of the specific carbohydrate diet and Mediterranean-style diet to induce remission in patients with Crohn’s disease.
Meals will be provided at no cost for six weeks through Real Food Works, a Lansdowne, Pa., meal delivery service company founded in 2012 by Lucinda Duncalfe, who serve as its chairwoman, and Jay Brown, its chief operating officer.
Patients will have the opportunity to continue purchasing meals afterward.
Real Food Works offers subscription-based programs of home delivered meals — prepared by select restaurant chefs — for both weight loss and healthy living.
“We were approached by Dr. Lewis at Penn and have worked with them to meet the food requirements for patients who are going to be part of the study,” Brown said.
Brown said the company delivers about 3,000 meals a week for customers locally, under its own brand, and nationally, through its partnership with Forks Over Knives. The company’s total annual revenues are about $2 million, according to Brown.
Its participation in the Crohn’s disease study, Brown said, will add about $600,000 in revenues for Real Food Works over two years.
Being selected for the study also helps validate Real Food Works business model, he said. “In addition to preparing healthy meals, we have developed a proven operations and logistical infrastructure to ensure safe, timely, and accurate delivery of meals nationwide,” Brown said.
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