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Are Startups Redefining The Term ‘Home Cooking’?

Grocery shopping, meal prepping, buying ingredients that you’ll only use once even though you’ve got an entire bottle left…these are absolutely first world problems. But, many of us are increasingly short on time, and money, and would rather not spend hours in the kitchen only to throw out uneaten food.

Entrepreneurs recognized a need for increased efficiency in the kitchen and accordingly, the pre-portioned, fool-proof food delivery services were born.

Food delivery services are not only introducing convenience into your daily meals but are also creating a lifestyle in which one may eat healthy, quality foods without the fuss of meal planning or shopping. The big hitters in the industry are Blue Apron, GreenChef and HelloFresh. All of these startups began with a simple offering: a grocery delivery service that comes with cooking instructions. It’s truly as simple as that.

You could say that at its core, the heavy hitter food delivery services of today operate much like a CSA would. CSA’s, or community supported agriculture, allow the public to invest in local farmer’s crops to receive their fair share of the harvest. This means that if you signed up for the program that you’d receive a bundle of produce periodically throughout the year. But the key ingredient missing in this arrangement is; what in the world do you do with all of this produce once you get it home?

Many of us strive to eat healthfully, but knowing what to do with the four potatoes, organic bell peppers and pesto sauce you just picked up can be flummoxing to the culinary challenged. Companies like Blue Apron are taking all of the guess work out of cooking for the at-home chef by providing perfectly portioned ingredients and step by step recipe instructions easy enough for a child to follow. The possibility of cooking an impressive meal, like spicy ponzu glazed catfish or bhindi masala, is now within reach and on tonight’s menu.

An additional convenience of these meal-in-a-box delivery services is that you can order them at any time. Unlike CSA’s which force you to wait until harvesting season, food subscription services permit you to order one off’s, sign up for regular deliveries or skip it all together. The added convenience is a major benefit especially for people who travel or have sporadic schedules.

Meal delivery services do more than make your life a little less hectic. By working with farmers around the country, organizations like Blue Apron are helping to make their growing schedule a bit more predictable while working around the farmer’s crop rotation schedules. Recipe developers work jointly with farmers who influence their recipes based on which of their crops are in season. By allowing the farmers to work their land, bending to their schedules, Blue Apron is doing its part to encourage sustainable farming. What’s more is by enlisting the services of local farmers, they’re helping to cut down on all of the environmentally harmful factors that come with outsourcing from other regions of the globe. Higher amounts of packaging materials and pollution associated with transportation across great distances are not issues when dealing with locals.

Meal delivery subscriptions are not for everyone and there are those who would say they’re not having as positive an impact on our health as we’d like to believe. But, if you’re interested in convenient, interesting meals delivered to your door that make you feel like a master chef, why not give it a try.

About the author

Nick Hastreiter

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