Are meal plans worth it?

As grocery costs rise globally thanks to inflation, more people become aware of health and wellness trends and needs, and it seems that meal kits and plans are a good option


Purva Grover

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Meals On Me
Meals On Me

Published: Thu 14 Jul 2022, 7:09 PM

Subscription-based meal plans were perceived to be expensive, a luxury for the lazy beings or the spoilt eaters. But as grocery costs rise globally (courtesy: of inflation), more people become aware of health and wellness trends and needs, it seems that meal kits and plans are a good option. We speak to meal providers to understand what the consumers can choose from based on their tastes, preferences and budgets. With high inflation putting pressure on household budgets, locally-owned supermarket Spinneys introduced a selection of value-for-money meal deals to satisfy the growing demand for accessible food options that do not compromise on quality. “Spinneys monitors shopping trends and reacts quickly to customers’ feedback. We hope our meal deal food offerings give people the flexibility to shop conveniently and enjoy healthy, delicious meals at affordable prices,” says Paul Crawford, commercial manager, Spinneys.

Convenience is the key

“Lack of time, rise in grocery costs and a greater awareness of healthy food and wellness have led many to opt for convenient eating options,” says Vanessa Jeremiah, managing director, Meals On Me. Vanessa leads MOM with her in-depth knowledge of the vibrant culture of Dubai and is backed by an efficient team comprising famed F&B professionals. In line with its mission to nourish and inspire customers to live better lives, Spinneys’ new range of ‘pick and mix’ stir-fries and delicatessen ‘grab-and-go’ combos offer customers a healthy, convenient and affordable way to shop. In addition to saving money, one gets to save valuable time and effort on planning a meal, cooking it and cleaning up afterwards. Prep & Co’s meal plans are simple and designed to only require customers to heat the meals in the provided single-use eco-friendly packaging for around 90 seconds (depending on the meal). “This is almost 30 hours saved per month if customers spend at least 90 minutes a day cooking and cleaning for a minimum of five days a week,” adds Ranya Fadly, co-founder, Kreative Restaurants & Co. Prep & Co is the newest addition to the portfolio by Kreative, UAE’s multi-concept holding company.

It’s interesting to note that not only are meal plan services designed to offer optimum nutrition, ready-to-eat meals and ease to customers but they also eliminate the need for cooking, cleaning and trips to the supermarket. “All these factors create more time for them to better their quality of life,” adds Vanessa.

Health first

All the meals available on Prep & Co too are designed by their team of experts who ensure the meals are nutritionally balanced and fully macro-counted. With this, one doesn’t have to worry about the nutritional aspect of their health journey. “Whether it may be weight loss, muscle gain, or even simply wanting to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Whilst cooking at home, people often lose track of the amount of oil or butter used in a meal which can affect the calories of a dish. Say only one tablespoon of olive oil contains 120 calories and 14g of fat, which is definitely a fact to consider when understanding the importance of macro counting,” adds Ranya.

All within the budget

Or is that a myth? “People often lose track of how much they spend when grocery shopping or ordering online,” says Ranya. When opting for a meal plan with Prep & Co, customers can spend up to 30 per cent less than if they were to continue shopping for groceries online or choose to eat out.

“When compared to dining out, ordering food online or even cooking at home, subscribing to a meal plan is more cost-effective,” clarifies Vanessa. Whilst many do feel that meal plans are expensive because of the overall cost, if you calculate what is spent on ordering in or going out every day, you discover that in the long run, meal plans save more money. “It is a win-win as customers get access to great food while not having to pay so much,” adds Vanessa. At Spinneys, for Dh35 one can pick and mix from a stir-fry ‘meal deal’ for two including a selection of the freshest ingredients to cook up a tasty and nutritious lunch or dinner.

Variety is the spice

Spinneys’ delicatessen counters serve up a wide range of meals developed by local chefs catering to specific preferences, including vegan and gluten-free dietary requirements. “Meal plans allow customers to fight food boredom by offering an array of dishes to choose from. Whether they subscribe owing to medical reasons or just convenience, meal plans have multiple cuisine options,” adds Vanessa. This allows one to enjoy a variety of flavours in one place instead of ordering from different restaurants. Plus, one has access to an assortment of dishes without having to buy ingredients and spices to create one dish.

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