Meal-Kit Mania: Restaurants Get into the Home-Cooking Game

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Meal-Kit Mania: Restaurants Get into the Home-Cooking Game

It has been 231 days since Covid-19 arrived in the US and restrictions began forcing us to do everything - from working to socializing to eating - at home. Recently, those constraints have largely lifted, but for many Americans, going out to eat is still too much of a health risk. In fact, 60% of Americans say they aren’t ready to eat out at restaurants again. So, for the majority of us, we’ve faced cooking nearly every meal - all 693 of them - from home.

That’s a lot of meals.

To escape the monotony and spice up (pun intended) our daily dinner routines, many people have turned to meal kits, which offer variety, convenience, and a way to avoid the grocery store. Meal kits have exploded in popularity since March, with revenue increasing for HelloFresh by 98% in the first half of 2020 alone - and have expanded to include a variety of options, such as 30-minute or paleo-friendly dinners.

But perhaps, the most interesting entrant into the meal kit industry is what we’ve been missing all along: restaurants. People are looking for ways to get a slice of normal life back, and enjoy their favorite dine-out foods, without the risk of going to a restaurant. So, eateries everywhere are preparing, packaging, and selling kits to bring that experience right to our doors.

For small, local restaurants, this support could literally keep them in business - but large restaurant groups and upscale establishments are getting in on the action as well. That means consumers across the country who can’t (or won’t) travel can still go on a culinary vacation, right from the safety of their own homes.

So, how do they work? Restaurants, from the taco joint down the street to a Michelin-starred steakhouse 2,000 miles away, prep their most popular meals, pack them into boxes with dry ice or cold packs, and ship them directly to your door. It sounds great in theory, but also comes with risk. First of all, meal kits of any kind are at a higher risk of spoilage than you might think, as we wrote about in a recent blog. On top of this, most restaurants are brand new to the food shipping game, and have little experience in sending spoil-prone food long distances. How much dry ice is enough dry ice? What are the food safety protocols for shipping nationally? These are big questions that, if not addressed appropriately, could ruin your experience.

All’s to say, the probability of food contamination is high, which in turn provides a narrow window for you to enjoy your meal kit before it goes bad. And while you may think you can mitigate food safety risks by picking up your order as soon as it arrives, research shows that’s optimistic, with most meal kits being left outside for eight or more hours before they are opened and refrigerated.

So, how can we safely enjoy the novelty of restaurant meal kits? Ensuring the food on your doorstep stays fresh is a great first step. Enter DeliverySafe: a parcel box designed with food delivery in mind. DeliverySafe’s insulated interior offers a secure, temperature-regulated place to receive meal kits, take-out, groceries, and more. Our box comes with 4-lb. removable ice packs that keep food cool for hours and reduce the risk of spoilage. These packs fit snugly along the walls of our box, leaving room for large orders and additional deliveries.

With DeliverySafe, you’re free to try a restaurant meal kit - or any kit you want, really - without worrying that your order will spoil before it reaches your table. That’s what we call quality service.