Healthy Meals In A Flash
Not your mom’s food scene
Growing numbers of young people are driving big shifts in the food scene. Last year, millennials with children made up nearly half of all U.S. households. These households want convenience, but reject fast, mass-produced foods, instead looking for high-quality, natural, fresh foods that are free of artificial ingredients. While the next generation of shoppers seeks out and thrives on new and diverse experiences, it isn’t necessarily affluent. Still, we see them reaching for fresh and healthy foods that nourish busy lives. From restaurants inside grocery stores to in-home meal kits and even cooking at home with a little help from the deli, we now have more options for convenient, fresh and healthy foods than ever.
No matter our age, it seems that we love having someone cook for us. Prepared grocery store food sales (including take-out and in-store dining) have increased nearly 30 percent since 2008. Expanded restaurant-like options inside the grocery store have generated a new word: “grocerant,” combining access to food staples with dine-in choices. Grocery stores with eat-in cafés often offer more options for fresher, healthier fare than the drive-through lanes of fast food outlets.
Grocery shoppers can see and select chef-made or deli items to suit their particular taste and dietary preferences, then enjoy them with friends or family in a casual setting, usually at less-than-restaurant prices.
Other options for fresh, fast foods have multiplied as well. While restaurant deliveries are more popular than ever, aspiring cooks (those who want to experience new flavors without all the shopping) can order dinners in a box. Delivered to your kitchen, the meals contain pre-measured ingredients, ready to assemble and cook according to detailed instructions, but are cooked by you, with loving care. Voila! There is even a meal kit provider that is working with the American Diabetes Association to meet specific nutritional needs. The good smells of home cooking are only a few clicks away.
Take-out chicken is a great example for converting prepared foods into personal dishes. Red meat is popular, but the versatility of chicken and sheer number of chicken dishes around the world are proof of the protein’s popularity. For quick meals prepped at home, mimic your favorite restaurant or chef by adding prepared grilled or rotisserie chicken from the deli counter to upgrade basic dishes: