Meal delivery services a sign of time-strapped Americans

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The Croizers are your average American family: two working parents and four children who are in school and after school activities. After a day of work and running the kids to activities, Susan Croizer is faced with the important question; what to have for dinner?

“With work and the kids’ activities we sometimes don’t get home until 7 o’clock,” Crozier said. “At that point, it’s just quicker for us to grab something and bring it home because I don’t feel like making anything and my family doesn’t feel like waiting.”

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Information provided by Mundel

Too much to do and too little time is the problem that affects many American families, and sadly it is a home cooked meal that falls by the wayside.

“I can only get to the grocery store once a week,” Croizer said. “And even if we plan out meals for the week someone’s schedule always changes and we end up either eating on

the go or all eating something different at different times.”

According to The State of Obesity, 44 percent of Americans eat fast food at least once a week. With fast food being cheap and quick, home-cooked meals seemed to be a thing of the past, until recently.

Over the last four years, meal delivery services have become a popular way to get quick and healthy meals to families. Companies like Blue Apron and HelloFresh are subscription food services that deliver weekly meals to your door. The companies only use fresh ingredients and everything is pre-portioned in an effort not to waste food.

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The Crozier family having a Blue Apron dinner

Juan Mundel is a Ph.D. candidate in advertising and public relations at Michigan State University, whose research focuses on how the media influences consumers behavior: such as dietary changes. Mundel said food delivery services are having a positive impact on the family meal.

“Delivery food services, such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh, are offering a very interesting picture regarding the food habits of Americans,” Mundel said. “We are seeing that people are enjoying cooking again, and that food is appealing more to the aspirational consumer than in previous years.”
The Crozier family has been using Blue Apron for around five months.

“I love it,” Susan Crozier said. “They are so quick to make, they are healthier than any take out and I don’t have to go to the store.”

These meals break down to about $10 a meal and, the longest a meal takes to cook is 20 minutes.

One of the meals the Crozier family had with Blue Apron.

One of the meals the Crozier family had with Blue Apron.

Mundel said the convenience and nutritional aspects of the meals provided by these services are what is most useful for families.

“Consumers are now choosing to take control over what they eat. And the convenience afforded by internet based companies are a big part of this experience because they make the consumers’ lives easier,” Mundel said. “These meals are quick, so they can still cook healthy and additive-free meals at home no matter if they get home late or not, which hopefully allows for more family meals.”

“We just come home, I pull out the meal and the instructions, and get cooking,” Crozier said. “With this at least I don’t have to feel guilty about what I am feeding my family.”