For the overworked, the organically inclined, or the culinarily inept, farm-to-table food meal subscription services provide a sustainable and delicious solution that delivers local produce right to their doorsteps. With all the fresh fruits and vegetables available in California, companies such as Greenhearts, FarmBox SF, or Fill Circle have partnered with community farmers to essentially create a delivery service for groceries. Additionally, many companies such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh offer a weekly delivery service that includes ingredients for meals — each ingredient proportioned perfectly and packaged locally. These companies are making healthy eating easier and more accessible.
An article in Fortune reports that currently 88 companies offer similar services. Last year, private investors poured $697 million into the food-to-table delivery subscription industry, compared to the $733 million from just the past six months.
Meal-kit startup companies such as Blue Apron offer its members weekly menus with meals fit for all tastebuds. The assorted foods — ranging from Roasted Cauliflower Panzanella to Kimchi & Barley Miso Ramen — offer delicate yet distinctive flavors, heavenly and decadent tastes, for $9.99 a meal. And for many companies, the meals are designed and curated by a team of dietitians, nutritionists, and chefs to create a balanced and healthy diet.
Camryn Hollarsmith ‘16 describes her experience using Blue Apron. “I’ve tried Blue Apron. It saves me a trip to the grocery store, and provides fresh, delicious food.” Indeed, fresh is the name of the game. These farm-to-table food subscription services take pride in only providing produce from local suppliers. The minimal time in transit also arguably makes these ingredients more fresh than those found at grocery stores.
The ingredients, typically those in season, are sourced and packaged locally and delivered to your doorstep. The packages contains all the ingredients needed to make a healthy and delicious meal in about 30 minutes. Inside a medium sized cardboard box you can find a gorgeous stalk of lacianto kale from Reeves Farms, a perfectly marbled tenderloin from Maria Sun Farms, yellow heirloom tomatoes from Lucero Farms, and much more. The ingredients — everything from the vegetables to the spices and the garlic — required in the recipe are measured perfectly to the eighth of a teaspoon to reduce food waste, promote responsible farming, and develop a more sustainable food system.
Meal-delivery services, as Blue Apron states in their mission, “create a community of home chefs.” George Dicke ‘17 adds, “Not only do you have a full meal, but you have an experience. It’s almost like taking a cooking class, because customers can cook in a bunch of different ways and use a bunch of different ingredients that they have never had before. I love that I can experiment with different ingredients.”
Additionally, many subscribers of food delivery services report that they are most attracted by the quality of the food. This new movement has a positive effect on the agricultural sector, because it encourages a culture for not only consumers, but also companies, to source locally whenever possible. This trend is particularly disrupting the food and beverage industry, as companies that typically forego quality of food for higher profit margins are now forced to improve their offerings, an article in Investopedia reports.
“You really get the best of all worlds — it benefits your health, the environment, and small businesses,” Dicke says.