- Meal kit company Sun Basket announced the national launch of a line of ready-to-heat meals that can be prepared in about six minutes, according to a company press release.
- The Fresh & Ready line is created by executive chef Justine Kelly and features in-season and organic ingredients on a wood tray that goes directly into the oven or microwave. The line was launched earlier this year in select markets under the name Oven Ready.
- Fresh & Ready is part of Sun Basket’s weekly plan and starts at $10.99 per serving. Recipes include pappardelle with wilted spinach, sweet peas, and fresh ricotta; shrimp paella with fire-roasted tomatoes and bell pepper; and a southwestern turkey and sweet potato skillet.
Sun Basket's ready-to-heat line continues a trend of meal kit companies moving away from the traditional cook-by-numbers format and into more prepared meals.
The goal is to appeal to a wider audience that's eating more at home during the pandemic. According to HelloFresh and Piper Sandler’s 2H20 outlook report, the average family cooked at home four times a week before the pandemic. Now, that has risen to seven days a week on average.
Meal kit companies, which have struggled to retain customers in the past, have seen a resurgence lately as a result. On Tuesday, HelloFresh saw its second-quarter sales surge 122%. Over the course of the pandemic, Blue Apron's stock has gone from distressed to more than doubling and the company recently recorded its first profitable quarter since going public in 2017. Revenue for the sector has also doubled year-over-year, according to Nielsen data cited recently by The Wall Street Journal.
Sun Basket has added more mealtime solutions, according to its latest press release. Its Pre-Prepped line which comes with pre-cut ingredients and allows customers to prepare meals in less than 20 minutes, will now include ready-to-eat salads, grain and legume bowls, vegetable soups and filled flatbreads. The company also has its Super Speedy meals, which launched in 2018 and can be prepared in 10 to 15 minutes.
Retailers are also expanding their meal solutions as they compete directly with meal kit companies. The Giant Company just launched a line of proteins pre-prepped inside oven-ready bags called Cook-In-Bag. In June, Giant Eagle rolled out a line of ready-to-heat meals to complement its store brand meal kits.