Meal delivery services a growing trend

Meal delivery services take the work out of putting meals on the table. Such services let people without much time on their hands enjoy homecooked meals, and also can help others expand their culinary horizons.

Whether making a meal for a crowd or a handful of people, cooks must first choose a dish and then follow the recipe to get it on the table. But it can sometimes be challenging to choose a menu, especially when faced with aisles of food at the grocery store.

Meal kits have become increasingly popular over the last few years, appealing to consumers who do not have time to shop for groceries. Meal kits also are coveted by those looking for inspiration for meal ideas.

According to Packaged Facts, a leading publisher of market research in the food, beverage and consumer packaged goods sectors, the meal kit industry is worth more than $1.5 billion. Technavio's market research analysts say the global meal kit delivery service market will grow at a rate of almost 21 percent between 2018 and 2022.

There are several advantages to meal kits. Consumers do not have to plan or shop for groceries, which affords more time to prepare the food. Another benefit is that these carefully curated meal boxes encourage consumers to step outside of their comfort zones to try new ingredients. Furthermore, with step-by-step instructions, customers learn preparation techniques through easy-to-follow recipes. Cooking tips and other information may be provided with the kit.

For the waste-conscious, meal kits are great because only the ingredients needed for the recipe are included. That means that there is little to no wasted food.

Certain services, such as Plated, offer two-, three- and four-serving recipe options delivered right to your door. If a dinner party is in the works, customers can simply order as many kits as they need. Other companies, such as Sun Basket, enable customers to receive two, three or four meals per week, which offers greater variety in subscription plans. Marley Spoon meal service tags recipes with labels like "kid-friendly" or "under 30 minutes" so that customers can find options that work best for them.

Meal delivery services take the work out of putting meals on the table. Such services let people without much time on their hands enjoy homecooked meals, and also can help others expand their culinary horizons.