Meal kits were expected to change the game for consumers. The concept was great—pre-portion high quality ingredients in a box and deliver the box to a customer’s front door. The execution, however, has turned out to be less than stellar—over 150 companies exist in the US that specialize in meal delivery, few of whom turn a profit.
Frozen Foods Shine in the Downfall of Meal Kits
High levels of competition, elevated cost of acquisition and logistical challenges have made it very hard for these firms to succeed. Pair this with the high levels of churn and the advent of grocers entering the meal kit market, and many pundits are saying that these companies are doomed.
However, despite the inherently unprofitable business model, these companies did reinforce one belief: Convenient doesn’t mean low quality.
Knowing this, their rise may have brought about a renaissance for another industry: frozen food.
Once lamented for their high sodium, artificial ingredients, and overall ‘cheap’ existence, the past decade has given rise to more healthful, flavorful options in the freezer aisle.
“Frozen food manufacturers have figured out that, ‘hey, we can give consumers a path to having authentic and wholesome ingredient meals at home with a high level of convenience,’” said David Portalatin, food industry adviser for The NPD Group. “Let’s give them the clean label, organic or non-GMO. Let’s put the quality back in.”
Higher Quality, Higher Prices, Higher Expectations
As product quality increases, it increases the cost for you and in turn the price you charge. Paired with the already-heightened expectations of quality, consumers will expect you to deliver products that not only deliver the ingredients they want, but the attractiveness as well.
Take, for instance, pizza. Today, you can charge between $5 and $8 for a pizza, promising organic, non-GMO, or otherwise intriguing ingredients. While many companies may still sell the $2.50 staples that many consumers have come to know and love, if you are pushing a higher price point, customers expectations get pushed higher as well.
Turn this to single meals, in which $4, $5, or more isn’t unheard of, and you can be sure that a customer will complain if the product doesn’t look as appealing as it does on the box.
Many elements go into making a quality frozen meal, but often it is the finishing touches that make or break a product. Toppings can easily shift during a products journey from facility to distribution center to store to home. Unfortunately, you don’t have much control over the handling after a product leaves your plant, making quality control a hard job for the frozen food manufacturer. Luckily, if your product contains cheese, there is a way to minimize the risk during transportation.
The Cheese Melter: Ensuring Expectations Meet Reality
For companies looking to maintain their food’s presentation throughout the manufacturing and distribution process—handling the bumping, dropping, and jostling that products experience, one secret to handling this is the cheese pre-melter—considered an unsung hero for companies like yours.
To help companies understand the value of and opportunities to use a cheese pre-melter, The CMM Group has released a new guide on the selection, documentation, and purchasing process for custom infrared cheese pre-melters.
If you are looking to learn more about the path to purchase for this important piece of equipment, we are pleased to announce a new guide on the benefits, use cases, and path to purchase for cheese melters. Preview this guide below and click here to download the entire guide to selecting, installing, and using a cheese melter.