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Although meal kits are an enormously popular option for nutrition these days, prepared meal deliveries are an up-and-coming option that meets a unique need. Have no time for shopping, cooking, or making food? Let a prepared meal delivery company handle everything for you—and still enjoy a hot and delicious meal for dinner each night.
Here we’ll look at prepared meal delivery versus grocery store experiences, including the differences in convenience, pricing, food quality, and overall accessibility.
What is Prepared Meal Delivery?
Most people are familiar with the home delivery of food items. However, the most common question is, what is prepared meal delivery, and how is it different from a meal kit subscription? While meal kits are essentially packages of raw ingredients for people to prepare at home, prepared meal deliveries are fully-prepared plates that only need to be warmed up.
Prepared meal delivery is ideal for people with busy schedules, people who have difficulty cooking, and those who are aiming to lose weight or adhere to a specific nutritional diet, or both. Many prepared meal delivery companies involve nutritionists and even doctors to formulate their recipes, following calorie, fiber, protein, and carbohydrate requirements per serving.
There are subscription plans for people with diabetes, uniquely tailored plans for seniors, and there are even kits emerging that address the nutritional needs (and picky tendencies) of toddlers. Prepared meals are often a bit costlier than meal kits, but the tradeoff is in the time savings.
Similarly, prepared meals are much more convenient than grocery store trips, meal planning, sourcing recipes, and spending up to an hour preparing and plating a meal. They’re also accessible for people who may not be able to get themselves or their families to the store for nutritious and varied meals.
Pros and Cons of Prepared Meal Delivery
While prepared meal delivery is convenient and healthy for many people, it’s not an ideal solution for everyone’s food needs. Here are the pros and cons of prepared meal delivery.
- Convenient: just heat and eat
- A variety of plans fulfill unique nutritional needs
- Delivered to your door flash-frozen
- Often contain snacks, desserts, and more
- Can involve meals conducive to weight loss
- Few customization options per dish
- Can be more expensive than other food prep options
- No cooking involved; some people enjoy the experience of cooking/preparing food
How Is Grocery Store Shopping Different?
Although grocery store shopping is currently the status quo for most folks, the meal kit and prepared meal industries are changing that! Shopping at a grocery store enables people to select the exact ingredients and items they want for their meals at home, but it also involves travel time to and from the store, standing in line to check out, and, often, picking through less-than-desirable produce for acceptable items.
In most cases, people who rely on grocery shopping for their weekly meal prep must first decide what recipes to prepare—and find said recipes—then check their cupboards for ingredients, shop for those ingredients, and come back home to finally cook the food.
While grocery store shopping does take time and meal preparation effort, it can also result in plenty of low-cost meals that individuals and families can enjoy throughout the week, or longer if they freeze dishes. Of course, changing up recipes often require buying large amounts of new ingredients, trial, and error as you test out menu items, and spending time calculating nutritional profiles per plate.
For people who have difficulty with mobility, grocery shopping may pose a nearly insurmountable challenge. Fortunately, there are services to accommodate the needs of both those who enjoy and look forward to grocery shopping and those who either cannot or would prefer not to shop in-person.
Pros and Cons of Grocery Store Shopping
Grocery store shopping is a normal, everyday activity for most people and families. But that doesn’t mean it’s always the ideal scenario for meal prep. Here are the pros and cons of grocery store shopping.
- Can make bulk meals and have leftovers later
- Buying in bulk is often cheaper in the long run
- Personal choice as to what you buy
- Many stores now offer delivery or pickup options
- Fresh produce often goes bad before you can use it
- Buying in bulk is wasteful if food spoils
- Subjects shoppers to impulse buys
Grocery shopping may be the most common way that people purchase and prepare food worldwide, but it’s not the only or the easiest way. Now, prepared meal and meal kit deliveries give consumers even more options to please their wallets, their palates, and their families.
Want more information on prepared meal deliveries? Interested in meal kits where you get to be the chef? Check out the best meal kits that rank highly concerning flavor, convenience, customization, and affordability.