Ready Meals Delivered to Your Home

Ready meals are no longer the drab, frost-bitten trays you might expect to find in a freezer section – an exciting crop of new companies is serving up fresh, chef-designed dishes that arrive over cool packs or dry ice and can be reheated quickly in a microwave. These microwavable, ready-to-eat foods are ideal for people who want a ready meals delivered to their home without having to spend time planning, shopping and cooking.

These meals can be a great option for people who are new to plant-based eating, flexitarians or those who have specific dietary needs such as celiac disease or FODMAP intolerances. However, as a convenience food they can also be high in salt and sugar which may be problematic for those with diabetes or high blood pressure.

Precooked meals take the guesswork out of what to eat and cut prep work at home, especially for time-starved shoppers. For example, a microwavable meal-for-one from Lions Prep takes just three minutes to heat up and is ready to eat immediately. They are also a good option for busy people on the go, whether they are travelling or need lunch to bring to work.

Grocery stores can capitalize on the growing popularity of these prepared meals by offering in-store options and delivering them through their ecommerce platforms. For example, Sunbasket allows shoppers to add fresh, hot and ready-to-eat meals, such as roasted chicken with vegetables and quinoa or grilled portobello mushroom with tomato and couscous, to their online grocery orders. They are then available for curbside pickup or doorstep delivery to their home.

Many of these meals are made with high-quality, locally sourced ingredients and come in a range of different flavours to appeal to a broad demographic of consumers. They are also often lower in calories than traditional restaurant fare, which can be a positive for weight loss or management goals. Another benefit of these ready-to-eat meals is that they are made in a regulated food service facility so that consumers can feel confident in the quality and safety of their food.

Adding prepared foods to online grocery orders can help grocers compete against meal kit delivery services and deliver a convenient solution for shoppers who are looking for ways to reduce their stress at home and support their health and wellness goals. However, it’s important to consider the cost of preparing these items and how they compare with the food-at-home products a shopper typically buys at a store. For instance, if these ready-to-eat meals are made with higher margin ingredients than those used in a shopper’s own kitchen, the overall cost of these products may be more than what they would pay at a retail grocery outlet. This could discourage shopper adoption of these offerings.

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