What Would My Grandmas Think?

Nancy Wales, CSJ on behalf of the Federation Ecology Committee

While enjoying a little more TV than usual during the summer I was intrigued by the increasing number of TV spots advertising food kit subscription services. You may ask, “What are meal kit services?” Meal kits are made by various food companies who deliver right to your doorstep ready-made meals or boxes containing all the ingredients and kitchen-tested illustrated recipe cards to prepare dinner. Some Canadian food kit delivery services include: Chef’s Plate (Toronto), Jolly Table (Calgary), ChefX (Ottawa), and (Hamilton).

Google Enlightens
I googled “food kits” to learn more about this growing food trend. Here is what I found:

Why the Need?
In the midst of the hectic and busy lives of individuals and families and an increased consciousness of the necessity of making healthy food choices, it is not surprising to see alternatives to fast food take out dinners surfacing.

How About the Pros?
Revuezzle.com focuses on product reviews and comparisons. In its article, 5 Surprising Benefits of Food Kit Delivery Services it highlights five reasons in support of this growing culinary trend. These reasons are outlined in subsections on: Perfect Portions, Less Food Waste, Healthy Cooking Made Easy, Time and Cost Savings and Access to Ingredients Not Easily Obtained Locally. Furthermore, the meal kit option is cheaper than restaurant eating. However, bear in mind, kits are more expensive than do it yourself supermarket shopping.

Takechargeamerica.org points out that kits may also help the consumer minimize food waste by providing just the right quantity of ingredients needed for the recipe. Whereas shoppers often buy more groceries than required and end up with food spoilage.

Kits are often tailored to meet various dietary needs such as vegetarian, gluten-free, diary free or low-sodium meals. Some services offer organic food options. Although there are numerous benefits to meal kit services, the main perk remains convenience. Kits provide a great way for diners to try new foods, flavours and cooking methods.

How about the Cons?
The main con cited by takechargeamerica.org is related to price. While costs vary, most meals average about $10 a meal per person. One could experiment with several providers and take advantage of the usual significant discount offered on first-time orders. This would allow a lower cost option for trying out the meal kit cuisine.

Another deterrent takechargeamerica.org cites in purchasing ingredients delivered to your doorstep is expanding your carbon footprint. Kits involve excessive packaging since the ingredients within your insulated box are individually packed and in addition there are the cold packs.

Takechargeamerica.org points out that although services allow you a certain leeway in naming ‘no way’ ingredients and flavours, there remains the probability of getting a dinner you don’t like.

Listed on the website is a factor which dissuades me from purchasing a meal kit and that is the lack of wiggle room for creativity or last minute changes.

Grandmas’ Reaction
Finally, I’m left wondering what Grandma Wales or Grandma Walsh, great home cooks, would think about dinner in a box.

What are your thoughts on subscribing to food kit delivery?