Who says our generation hasn’t invented anything! Up until 15 years ago, meal delivery kits didn’t exist, and now they’re a market worth over $4.65-billion. People are lining up to subscribe to any company that promises to deliver a cardboard box filled with raw ingredients and ice packs and for the opportunity to pretend we’re a low-rent Gordon Ramsey.
And while other generations may be confused why we couldn’t simply just Google a recipe and buy the groceries ourselves, young people are totally on board with being shipped their DIY dinner box. Even I fell for the HelloFresh box. When it first came, I was all-in. I convinced myself that due to me not having a family, they sending adequate portions in an easy to follow instruction was worth paying the 200% markup for the food. Some of the other reasons people do meal kits:
- Overworked. These meal delivery kits are a simple solution to a bigger problem. We’re working way too hard. Though we are not number one among workaholic developed nations, the United States is close to the top. A third of American employees work more than 45 hours a week, and 9.7 million work more than 60. And while these meal kits are a time-saving band-aid, shouldn’t we be taking our time back instead of making them the new norm?
- Cooking all the way to the bank. Did you know that for most of human history, we’ve been cooking without needing a set of detailed instructions and premeasured ingredients? These meal boxes often market themselves as ways to learn cooking, but that comes at a heavy mark-up. They make cooking seem like you have to be a professional to pull it off, yet somehow, our parents and guardians were able to keep us alive without a single day of culinary arts school.
- Subscription Purgatory. Chef and writer Alison Cayne wrote in the New York Post, “I think of [meal kits] like riding a bike. Meal kits promised to be the training wheels, eventually getting folks to the ‘Look Ma! No hands!’ moment. But therein lies the big miss. There is no ‘Look Ma!’ moment.” While you may feel like you’re on Chopped when following the instructions, the minute you take them away, you might as well go back to Chef Boyardee. It would be great if these boxes prepped us to eventually go out into the real food world and do our own cooking, but it seems like they’re more geared to keeping us subscribed than anything.