Grocery Innovation: Meal Kits to Keep the Busy Family Healthy
Written By: Christine Dantz
A new grocery startup by the established Giant/Martin's supermarket chain has innovated its business and the health of its customers. The plan is like the popular subscription services that have popped up in larger metropolitan areas, such as, Plated
, Hello Fresh
, Blue Apron
, and Home Chef,
with a huge difference. It's selling fresh meal kits that cost $24.99 for four servings; whereas, the traditional snail mail meals can cost up to $15 per person.
When I first read about these grocery startups, I was excited! What busy mom wouldn't love to have simple, but, still healthy, meal kits, delivered for a reasonable price? The companies listed above advertise meal kits that include premeasured, fresh ingredients, and step-by-step instructions. Quickly, I jumped on the website for Plated. That's when my excitement ended. These were meals for young Millennials that live in the city, not a family of three, that includes a growing pre-teenage boy. I would need to order two meals for every dinner, throwing the "reasonable price," out the door.
Yes-the price of going to the store, getting all the ingredients, going home, and spending the time to prepare the meal is lower, but, it's time that's a hot commodity in today's fast-paced world. That's why the grocery chain, with close to 200 locations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, is working to fill the gap that consumers like myself need.
The grocery store of the late 19th century
The grocer's Senior Vice President of Sales, Merchandising, and Marketing Erik Keptner explains,
"Our customers are busy, and these new fresh meal kits are another innovative way we are helping them to save time and eat well by getting a delicious and convenient home-cooked meal on the table."
Bingo! Now that's innovation.
The first stores in Camp Hill and Hampden Township, Pennsylvania started filling subscriptions for in-store pickup at the end of 2015. A delivery service for stores already using Peapod, a grocery delivery service, also started for their Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Jersey City, New Jersey store. In late January, the company added 10 more subscription locations in the Pennsylvania.
Each meal should take 35 minutes or less to prepare and are made with quality, fresh ingredients. Some of the meal choices include:
- Peppercorn Steak with a blue cheese sauce, mashed potatoes with chives, and steamed broccoli
- Chicken breast served with a creamy mushroom sauce over wild rice, and a side of garlic roasted green beans
- Individual-sized meatloaf with couscous and a steamed vegetable
Yum! If you live in the service areas mentioned, you will find the meal kits in the deli or the prepared foods department.
Both services provide wholesome, healthy meals, but the supermarket has a significant advantage. Along with price, you already know and trust your local market. That should go a long way to help your local grocer compete for a slice of the $1.4 billion meal kit industry. If this trend continues, it could help increase healthy eating, promote local products, and reduce our carbon footprint.
Giant Carlisle Meal Kits Roll Out to More Stores. (2016, February 5). Retrieved from Progressive Grocer.
Giant to offer fresh meal kits. (2015, December 16). Retrieved from Supermarket News.
Grocery pick-up available in select cities. (n.d.). Retrieved from Peapod.
Lazzaro, S. (2016, January 5). We Tried Blue Apron, Hellow Fresh and Their 4 Competitors--One Was Clearly the Best. Retrieved from Observer.
Tristano, D. (2016, January 29). Move Over Blue Apron: Grocery Stores Bring Meal Kits to the Masses. Retrieved from Forbes.
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Farm to Table, Meet Dock to Dish
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