The best restaurant meal kits that will continue after lockdown ends

When the pandemic struck, restaurant owners were forced to close to the public and faced a colossal challenge to stay afloat. With takeaway and delivery permitted, many of them continued to serve their locals, but the geographical range was limited.

And so, the meal kit was born – precooked and neatly packaged dishes that could be dispatched nationwide and, usually, finished off by the customer simply in a pan, oven or microwave at home. A trickle of them quickly turned into a stream that has, one year on, become a fast-flowing river. 

One of the earliest adopters was chef Tommy

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Five-Star Meal Kits Are Here to Stay

And just like that, fine-dining restaurants may have reached a solution to their greatest quandary: How to wring more revenue from the genius of their chefs. After all, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant can only  accommodate so many comers without losing quality and exclusivity — and the right to charge top dollar for a meal. Traditional brand extensions, from cookbooks to private catering, can top off the bread and butter with spoonfuls of jam. But there’s no getting away from the fragility of the business model.

As David Chang, the chef and entrepreneur behind the Momofuku chain, told me last fall,

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The Best Restaurant Meal Kits Available Nationwide

Throughout COVID, restaurants have pivoted in every way possible—they’ve built elaborate dining parklets, expanded takeout offerings, and begun selling meal kits. 

With pre-measured ingredients, simple recipe cards, and, often, clever, creative packaging, restaurant meal kits have become a way to stay connected to (and support) the dining establishments we love. They’re a far cry from the Blue Apron-style meals you might be picturing, too—often, they make it possible for novice home chefs to recreate beloved, elaborate dishes, the kind you probably wouldn’t otherwise attempt (like, say, an entire Shabbat dinner from Pittsburgh’s Abe Fisher).

Most restaurant meal kits are limited

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Fresh Express Launches Four New Salad Kits with Unique Ingredients

As a result of the pandemic, consumers have scaled back on restaurant or out-of-home dining and most meals are now prepared and enjoyed at home, driving increased demand for meal solutions that are flavorful, nutritious and easy to prepare. With the introduction of these new recipes, Fresh Express is providing consumers with more variety than ever before and furthering its commitment to offering products that are consistently, deliciously, fresh.

“Throughout the past year, we’ve seen that consumers are increasingly looking to add convenience and flavor to their at-home meals, without sacrificing quality,” said Fabian Pereira, Vice President of Marketing

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HelloFresh would like to clear the air on meal kits

Since the world was introduced to the first meal kit over a decade ago, the industry has matured in size and familiarity, but it also has endured notable criticism surrounding packaging and its perceived impact on the environment. Leading sustainability for a meal kit company, I am acutely aware of our weak points and an advocate for the benefits.

Let me be the first say that as an industry, there is ongoing work to do to make meal kits the most sustainable food option. I have seen significant progress to this end — both in my company and the industry

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