Sheryl Lozicki, the Director of Nutrition and Wellness at Mercy Health, talks about home delivery meal options. How do they work, are they a healthy option for individuals or families, what are the benefits and how do the cost compare? For this segment, we contacted the following companies for information:
Hello Fresh www.hellofresh.com contains as you would guess fresh ingredients, nutritionally balanced meals that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. Hello Fresh has a partnership with Jamie Oliver who contributes a special recipe in each box every week. The classic meal costs $9.90, vegetarian $9.08 and family is $8.75/person.
Sun Basket www.sunbasket.com out of Northern California, features farm-to-table foods specializing in organic, non-GMO ingredients. Recipes are created by Chef Justine Kelly, former head chef of James Beard award-winning restaurant. Tyler Florence is Sun Basket's culinary co-founder. Meals cost $11.49 per person.
Blue Apron www.blueapron.com offers fresh ingredients and meats raised on hormone and antibiotic free diets. Meals cost $9.99 per person.
Pakd www.eatpakd.com out of Chicago, Illinois, allows parents and children to build custom made lunches from fresh ingredients. They specialize in picky kids and health conscious parents. While they aren't available in Western Michigan just yet, they are headed our way. Lunch averages $6.50 per person.
Red Apron www.redapron.com out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is actually Meijer grocery stores. While they don't deliver meals, they will deliver groceries to your door for a fee of $9.95 per deliver or $12.95 same day. The average markup to cover shopping and handling is 12 percent and loyalty card programs do not apply.
In each of these cases with the exception of Red Apron, the company does the recipe planning, food shopping, and ingredient measuring and doorstep delivery for you. Many of these companies offer steep discounts on first time orders. You order online and pay via PayPal or credit card and your order is delivered within 3-5 days in temperature controlled box. With proper storage, ingredients should last one week.
Benefits of Home Delivered Meals
· You try new recipes that have been created by a culinary team and renowned guest chefs. They are typically very easy to follow and once you've made them you can easily recreate them yourself.
· You learn new cooking skills, like marinating techniques, knife skills and how to use fresh spices that add tons of flavors in lieu of salt.
· Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Sun Basket meals change regularly so you are exposed to a wide variety of cuisines and flavors that keep eating healthy interesting and fun. Most companies form partnerships with well known-farms and take advantage of foods grown local, in season produce.
· Some like, Hello Fresh have a registered dietitian on staff that helps to keep recipes lower in calories, sodium, sugar and saturated fat. Most meals average between 500-800 calories.
· Most ingredients are fresh, free of food coloring, preservatives and additives. Oftentimes they choose foods that are reduced in sodium, non-GMO and organic.
· You gain confidence in the kitchen and variety in your menu.
· You can choose meal plans based on your food preferences such as paleo, vegetarian and gluten free.
· You still need to spend time in the kitchen, slicing, dicing, prepping and cooking.
· There is a lot of packaging. However most of these companies use 100% compostable packaging and natural ice packs.
· You still need to have staples on hand like olive oil, butter, salt and pepper.
Who Does This?
Some people fondly refer to home delivered meals as expensive takeout that you still have to cook. However, a Harris Poll found that just shy of 1/3 of Americans has bought some type of food online in the past six months. It's more prevalent amongst young city dwellers that are more educated and time-starved parents.
I think it's a great way to learn new cooking skills and try new ingredients without committing to an entire container of something that my family might not like. I also found that the meals are well-rounded, portion controlled and an interesting diversion to the same old 10-12 recipes I routinely cook for my family. While I can't afford it every week, it does provide for a nice change of plate!
(© 2016 WZZM)