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The world turned unrecognisable in the early months of 2020. With the outbreak of COVID19, and an inability by officials to control it, huge parts of the global population were restricted to staying in their houses for weeks and months on end. While many of us were allowed to exercise and go out for essential supplies, there was little else that people could spend their money on as socialising was a no-go.
That gave rise to the meal kit delivery service. An already popular product, subscriptions to meal kit companies went through the roof. But what about in the near future, when restrictions start to ease and hopefully disappear? Will meal boxes be popular then? Here, we look at answering those questions and identifying what meal delivery services in a post-pandemic world may look like.
For those that have never heard of them, or are at least a little scant on the details of how they work, a meal box delivery service will deliver ingredients for a recipe to your door for you to make at home. Some meal box services even deliver pre prepared meals that are far nicer than the average ready meal from the supermarket. The result, in either scenario, is a delicious and nutritious home-cooked meal.
Additionally, meal kit delivery services also provide customers with a great deal of convenience. Not only do they not have to go to the supermarket to buy groceries for a huge weekly shop, subscribers also do not have to spend their time meal planning. Apps and websites for meal kit delivery companies offer huge arrays of choice for breakfasts, lunches and dinners. The result? Customers can quickly pick what tickles their fancy, without having to take a long time going over what they should cook that week to provide their household with a varied diet.
Plus, meal kits are great for expanding a person’s repertoire too. By cooking a handful of different dinners each week, the recipe cards in delivery boxes are a fantastic way for both novice and experienced home cooks to learn new skills and techniques. That has long-lasting benefits for a person, who usually only ever has around 7 dishes they can make.
Finally, meal kit delivery services can also cater to strict dietary requirements - making them far more convenient for those with special dietary needs. For example, gluten-free meal delivery kits are a great way for those trying to eradicate gluten from their diet quickly. In the past, those trying to reduce or eliminate gluten from their food would have to read the back of every food package they had. Gluten-free meal boxes do that from the outset making the whole process much quicker and easier. Other common dietary restricted boxes would be Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Vegan or Wheat-free.
While the obvious benefits of meal kit delivery services were there in pre-pandemic times, it took the impact of COVID19 restrictions to make these meal boxes an attractive option for many. The reason? When stuck at home with little more than a home workout and Netflix for entertainment, food and wine were perhaps the only exciting prospects on many people’s agendas. People were looking for interesting ways to liven up their days while still staying in their homes. Meal kit delivery services saw interest in subscriptions go up exponentially as people spent more time in the kitchen.
The attraction was clear. Now that restaurants were shut, with only a few offering deliveries, meal kit delivery boxes offered a way for people to eat restaurant-quality food without the hassle. Clear recipes, high-quality produce and a dish designed by a chef as well as a dietitian meant that meal kit delivery subscribers were able to create food with flair that was not just the same old thing they usually make in the kitchen. Instead of spaghetti bolognese every week, customers were suddenly able to create BBQ Beef Ragu Rigatoni, for example. Importantly, it also helped some people experiment with new diets more easily. So, if a family wanted to go Vegan or Vegetarian for a couple of days a week, they could do so almost instantaneously with exactly the same amount of effort as it took to choose fish or meat dishes.
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However, now that we are over a year into the pandemic, and restrictions are easing off around the world, what is next for meal kit delivery companies? While people will undoubtedly be making the most of the ability to socialise in restaurants, bars and pubs again, the need for these companies will still be there. For, those that found meal kit delivery services a quick life hack for cutting time in the kitchen, that benefit still remains. We all still lead time-pressured lives - more so in post quarantine times.
Plus, the pandemic also encouraged many to look at a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way of living. As we were all travelling less, our carbon emissions dipped for the first time in years and populations called upon Governments to spend their post-pandemic initiative money on projects that encouraged the development of carbon-neutral products and services.
Meal kit delivery services are great for being environmentally friendly. For, not only do they minimise waste as boxes only come with enough needed for a specific recipe (i.e one onion as opposed to a pack of six that you may have to buy in a supermarket), they also provide customers a way to try more sustainable dishes. So, that means fish caught from ethical fisheries, meat that is only produced with green farming techniques or even plant-based dishes that do not include meat or fish at all. Plant-based meals often have a far lower carbon footprint than those that contain animal products.
The proliferation of meal kit delivery companies is clear evidence that the want and need for these services is rife. People are forever looking for ways to make their lives simpler - in a pandemic or not. For that reason, meal kit delivery services still offer those benefits, whether it is possible to go to a restaurant or not. In fact, arguably, as restrictions have eased, individuals have even less time on their hands so are looking for ways to reduce the time spent in the kitchen. Prepared meals or recipe meal boxes are a fantastic way of shaving off huge amounts of time wasted so that all that is left are delicious meals that the whole family can enjoy.