Prepared meals delivered to your door has expanded to include gourmet meals and ingredients ready for you to cook.
There is a desire among the American public to eat well at home, but sometimes that requires someone else doing the cooking.
In what formerly was a market just for diet-conscious shoppers and the elderly, a bevy of companies have sprung up that deliver meals to your home, and the meals range from simple to gourmet.
Today there are at least three different markets for prepared meals delivered: people who want to eat well (foodies) but don’t have time or the skills to cook gourmet meals, people who are trying to lose weight with diet-specific meals, and people who can’t cook for themselves, such as the elderly.
The meal-delivery industry is now estimated to be a $1 billion business annually.
The prepared meals for the dieting industry started in the early 1970s, around the time Nutrisystem was founded in 1972. Today Nutrisystem has sales of about $45 million in annual sales.
But prepared meals are one thing. Now there are companies that offer meals ready to be prepared, if you want to cook but don’t have time to chop, slice and dice.
In Chicago, a company called Meez Meals provides all of the ingredients for a meal, plus cooking instructions, and delivers them to your home so you can prepare the meal to your satisfaction. The company makes the menus, does the shopping and preparation and then delivers the food to homes in vacuum sealed bags.
“Business has grown exponentially,” Meez Meals owner Jennifer Moore told Crain’s Chicago Business. “There are so many people who love the idea of cooking but just don’t have the time.”
There are companies that offer delivered and prepared meals under strict dietary plans. Factor75, another Chicago business, provides recipes that are 40 percent protein, 30 percent fat and 30 percent carbohydrates, and are aimed at adults who are either already fit or want to get in better shape.
In Phoenix, a company called F3 Foods designs menus for three different types of customers: those looking to lose weight, those who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle and those using the Paleo diet, which offers only food products that could have been consumed by the hunter-gatherers from the Paleolithic era.
“We understand that it can be a challenge for people to lead a healthy lifestyle, simply due to time constraints,’’ F3 Foods CEO Michael Wystrach told Yahoo! Finance. “Finding the time to prepare healthy meals can be the most-time consuming facet of a fitness regimen. We designed F3 to address this challenge.”
A Farmingdale, N.Y. company named DineWise, which ships prepared meals via FedEx to all 50 states, offers menus for senior citizens, weight loss, low sodium, diabetic, low carb, and good health categories.
Www.Nextadvisor.com, an independent research firm’s website, offers comparisons of prepared meal delivery systems which national distribution options. Also, www.prepared-meal-delivery-reviews.com offers customer reviews of prepared meal services.
There is another market for prepared foods, and that is the elderly still living in their own homes.
According to Brown University School of Public Health researchers, a significant percentage of nursing home residents could still be living in their own homes if they took advantage of meal delivery programs such as Meals on Wheels, which operates in all 50 states and provides meals based on the dietary needs of senior citizens.
The research showed that more than half the states in the union would get a savings on Medicaid expenses if there was only a 1 percent expansion of meal delivery programs.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.