December 06th 2018
Meal Kits: Are They the Future of the Home Cooked Meal?
It’s hard to find time in a busy, modern schedule to focus on nutrition. More than 25% of working Canadians say they lack the time to cook at home regularly. That’s one of the reasons why the meal kit industry is heating up.
Only a few years ago, the term “meal kit” wasn’t on the radar of the average consumer. Today, however, fuelled by a desire to eat better within the constraints of a packed schedule, it's a trending concept that seems poised to cement its place in the food lexicon.
Modern families, traditional values
Despite a professed lack of time for cooking, Canadians still value a home-cooked meal. According to a survey conducted last year, 53% said their families appreciate their cooking. From a practical standpoint, 65% said they like knowing exactly what’s going into their food. That’s in keeping with a known trend towards more mindful consumption and an understanding that there is a direct link between diet and health.
You can see the dilemma here, can’t you? Canadians like home cooking, they want home cooking, but they don’t have time for home cooking. Increasingly, consumers are turning to meal kits to solve their problems.
For consumers, meal kits offer the chance to eat a good, home-cooked meal without sacrificing any of their precious time. Data collected in 2018 reveals that Canadians love meal kits because they save time (65%), and make meal planning easier (69%). As well, 50% liked that meal kits helped them buy just the food they actually need, and that saves money and cuts down on food waste. Those are all very logical reasons to purchase meal kits. But, what about the emotional reasons?
Meal kits can blend home cooking with adventurous eating
Modern consumers, especially millennials, love to sample new foods and cooking styles. Unfamiliarity with exotic ingredients and their uses, however, are seen as barriers to trying new cuisines at home. Many consumers will go out to a restaurant, instead, for their first bite or latest fix of a trendy international dish. Meal kits may be changing the game. A whopping 73% say meal kits expose them to new cuisines, and 70% credit them with giving them the confidence to prepare meals they may not otherwise have tried.
For a producer or retailer, those should be exciting numbers. Consumers are giving you the freedom to capitalize on emerging trends, or even be the front-runner on something entirely new. Could your product be the one that brings Latin/Middle Eastern fusion street food in from the cold? Will you tempt the trend-seekers with unfamiliar global blends like shawarma, rendang curry, or mojo verde, packaged in familiar ways?
Don’t let function force flavour out of the equation
No matter your approach, and regardless of whether your product is for a meal kit delivery service or an in-store HMR for commuters on their way home, flavour should be your number one consideration. Convenience and novelty may win you a place in a shopping cart or an online order, but tasting delicious gets you on that night’s Instagram post and tomorrow’s calendar reminder to reorder.
By partnering with our flavour developers and culinary experts, you’ll have the opportunity to help shape an exciting product to help improve your customers’ busy lives. Contact us to learn how we combine the best ingredients with proven, proprietary techniques to create delicious and authentic flavour experiences.