The ability to curate various facets of life, food preferences and nutritional needs stands at the forefront of a delicious new trend. Thanks to the growing popularity of meal prep services like Blue Apron and Plated, a slew of inspired entrepreneurs and nutrition experts have developed a next-level array of personalized meal planning and ingredient delivery services. The latest batch of applications and services pay special attention to everything from locally-sourced, chef-prepared meals to ingredient kits compiled with regard to your very own genetic makeup.
Whether you just want weekly groceries that fit your Paleo or pescaterian lifestyle or a fully personalized nutrition plan involving foods your body needs for optimum health, there’s likely a meal service ready to bring exactly that to your door.
Perhaps the most intense new offering in the field of tech-enabled meal prep is Habit, a service that relies on blood samples and cheek swabs to give you a customized analysis of your nutritional needs.
Once you send in your kit for panel testing and biological analysis, you’re met with a meal plan that delivers the ratio of carbs, proteins and fats your test results indicate are optimal for your overall wellness, as well as specialized nutrient considerations like Omega-3s and specific vitamins. Based on those metrics, dietitian-approved, ready-to-eat meals will arrive at your doorstep.
For a no-fuss approach to personalized nutrition, the PlateJoy experience begins with a lifestyle quiz to capture your preferences, restrictions, allergies, household habits and wellness goals. Then, it evolves into a customized plan as simple as relevant recipes and shopping lists or as comprehensive as doorstep delivery and nutrition tracking. Instacart, FitBit and Jawbone have each partnered with PlateJoy to deliver seamless integration for its customers.
Recipes range from simple daytime foods (kale Waldorf salad, pesto and avocado toast) to full dinners (honey-glazed chicken and strawberry ricotta crepes). Founded by an MIT graduate with a neuroscience degree, the brand’s full-fledged services are available in more than two dozen metropolitan areas around the U.S.
If it’s strictly organic, non-GMO foods you crave, Sun Basket hits the spot with its hand-selected ingredients from the West Coast. With an emphasis on responsible sourcing and sustainable ingredients, the service also appeals to a wide array of diets, from Paleo to gluten- or meat-free. Recipes include such dishes as artichoke-mushroom frittatas and walnut-crusted chicken Diavola created by a San Francisco chef at a cost of about $11 a meal. Sun Basket makes a weekly delivery, using packaging that’s completely recyclable and compost-friendly.
Also occupying the organic, sustainable delivery space is Green Chef, which goes a step further, offering a vegan plan in addition to its other recipes, including those designed for pescatarians, vegetarians, omnivores and hard-core carnivores. Practicing complete transparency with regard to its packing and shipping materials, the brand delivers a diverse array of ingredients that can be transformed into healthy meals in 30 minutes or less — think dishes like coconut shrimp tacos and vegan BBQ seitan.
For those on the go who want simple, fresh meals prepared locally and delivered without breaking the bank, the former restaurateurs behind Full Fridge have stepped up to the plate. Though it only serves its hometown of Austin, Texas, the concept behind it could catch on with fellow restaurant owners around the US looking for new ways to feed customers. For $5 a meal, professional chefs plan, prep and deliver either three or five days’ worth of meals to customers within a 30-minute radius of the brand’s headquarters. By keeping an eye on the affordability of ingredients in season, they keep costs down on dishes like potato pancakes, beef Bourguignon and poppyseed brownies — all at a tasty price point.
Next-Gen Meals in a Box
Appealing to everyone from wellness warriors to diet-conscious consumers who simply want to explore new foods without a fuss, the newest crop of meal delivery services are an increasingly inclusive bunch, listening to the needs of its users and adapting to their demands. From sustainability to hyper-customization, there’s a palate-pleasing option for nearly everyone, keeping customers full of healthy foods and food entrepreneurs filled with new ideas.