Archive for the ‘Meal Prep’ Category

Too much assembly required

I want to make well-balanced, nutritious meals for my kids, so I tried a meal-preparation service. It didn’t prepare me for all the work.

I think this sums up what meal assembly has turned into. A good idea that still requires far too much assembly at home and more planning than many people are willing to invest.

Too Much Assembly Required

Are you doing a brisk business?

We all know that meal assembly was supposed to conquer Canada. That didn’t quite happen, but it seems they may be just as susceptible to faux media hype as everyone else. I was just reading an article about a store up North that was doing brisk business in an industry that was just perfect for the owners.

I found one of the comments interesting:

Business has been brisk. Sales grew by 17% on a month-to-month basis in their first year of operation. Their customer base now numbers approximately 4,000 and they estimate they sell between 300 and 350 meals per week.

I suppose in these economic times anything more than 10 customers a month would be considered brisk, however when you calculate this out, 300 meals a week is about 50 customers (if they all bought 6 meals each) or around 200 customers a month. Of course, if all those were 12 meal packages it would be about 100 customers a month.

I guess that’s better than some, but not to be rude, I would hardly call that brisk. To be honest, I would see that as barely keeping above water. I really don’t see how you can pay off all your bills and have money left over for yourself with these figures. Again, there are plenty of jobs out there where you can work less and make $40k a year so if meal assembly isn’t making more than that for you it’s a dud business. At this rate I certainly don’t see the owners (and there’s two of them) making $40k a year each. Where’s the retirement plan?

And there’s quotes like this:

"You just need that one good idea to start a business and this one was it for us,"


I wish they would have kept looking.

Is it still a meal prep store or is it just take out?

The industry was founded on the idea that people come in and make the meals themselves, that way they know what’s in it, customize it to their personal tastes and have a sense of ownership about the meals.

Great idea, but is it really working out these days? So many people just want to come in and pick-up the meals. Super Supper jumped on that bandwagon and turned everything over to meal pick-up. At one point Dream Dinners completely frowned on this idea, but there were plenty of owners who were tossing out the rules and doing whatever it took to make some money. And you can clearly see that many independent stores were offering both options all day long. No more sessions, just come in and make meals whenever you want or drop by and grab something.

So where do things stand now? Have owners ditched the whole meal assembly process and simply have customers grab pre-made meals or are you still encouraging customers to come in and make the meals for themselves?

Meal assembly store survives

This does show that the independent store is far more adaptable than the larger franchises who don’t understand the needs of customers on the whole let alone at a local level, however, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There is a big difference between being a survivor in this mess of an industry and bringing home a salary that allows you to pay all your bills, have money for yourself and still spend time with your own family around the dinner table.

Also, it’s quotes like this that still make me wonder if people really understand this industry:

""People still need to eat," she said, adding that her meals are still cheaper and healthier than picking up fast food for a quick meal."

Hanging your hat on that mantra will lead to bankruptcy, as we’ve already seen…

Nationwide, the number of meal assembly businesses increased from four in 2002 to 1,400 in 2007, according to a recent story in The New York Times. But growth has slowed considerably. About 260 stores closed in 2007, and three times as many closed the previous year, according to the story.

Sioux Falls has experienced a similar downturn. Of the three businesses that opened, only the local player, Your Secret Kitchen, is still around.

Owner Kim Schetnan said it’s because she’s a locally owned business that she’s been able to survive. She was able to adapt more easily to the changing market.

Meal assembly store survives

Death of family meals harms health

The demise of the traditional family meal is exposing children to junk food advertising that threatens their health, the Government’s school food guru warned yesterday.

Prue Leith, chairman of the School Food Trust, warned that ‘knees under the table’ dinners were dying out as parents condone all-day snacking and all-you-can-eat chip shop deals.


Death of family meals harms health

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