A former patient at Dunedin Hospital says almost everyone in his ward refused to eat the food served to them, because it was disgusting.
Formal complaints have been received from 25 people over the pre-packed meals served within the Southern District Health Board (DHB), since a new company started producing them earlier this year.
The DHB used to make the meals for the Southland and Dunedin Hospitals in-house, but in January started contracting the company, Compass, to make them.
The move is expected to save $6.9 million over 15 years.
Most of the complaints were about the food's taste, appearance or temperature, but some also related to peoples' dietary requirements being missed.
Southern District Health have received 25 formal complaints about the pre-packed, frozen food it's served since Jan. pic.twitter.com/NmZ1AWhVDF— Checkpoint (@CheckpointRNZ) April 7, 2016
Jarrod Oliver, who recently spent six days in Dunedin Hospital, said the food used to be excellent, but was now almost inedible.
"In my ward, I went around the whole room, hobbling around with my little drip, and 90 percent of the meals went back with most of it uneaten. It was terrible, really disgusting."
Mr Oliver said the kitchen staff no longer enjoyed delivering the food.
Compass innovation and development manager Lauren Scott said feedback was expected when they were serving 1000 meals a day.
"We're providing food to a wide range of people with some special dietary restrictions, and we would always expect to get some feedback on the food we provide, but we are committed to providing quality meals."
Ms Scott said a muffin and a sausage lunch had been removed from the menu, following feedback.