- United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) added two new meal solutions in order to better supply its grocers with fast, restaurant-quality meal choices, according to a Wednesday press release.
- The new offerings, which include flash-frozen meals from Cadence Kitchen and fresh meal kits from Cook•Able, are available to UNFI’s more than 30,000 customer locations.
- UNFI is offering more meal options as grocers plan to devote more store space to foods that are quick and easy to prepare and serve.
UNFI’s introduction of the meal solutions is intended to help retailers more efficiently satisfy consumer demand for inexpensive, restaurant-quality meals that don’t take long to prepare. In particular, the Providence, Rhode Island-based distributor is looking to help the grocers it supplies reduce their in-store labor needs as well as the time they devote to producing prepared foods.
“With consumers continuing to favor eating at home versus away, retailers are looking to offer delicious and effortless products to time-challenged consumers that replicate the restaurant experience at budget friendly pricing,” Jody Barrick, vice president of bakery/deli at UNFI, said in the press release.
The Cook•Able the fresh meal kit solutions include eight options, each with recipes and pre-portioned ingredients that can be made into a meal in 20-25 minutes. The meal kits have a shelf life of 14 days, carry a suggested retail price of $12.99 to $19.99 and serve two to four individuals.
The frozen meal solutions include 10 entree options and three side choices, each with a suggested retail price of $5.99 to $9.99. In 15 minutes, all of the meal options can go from flash-frozen to ready-to-eat, according to the press release.
According to an FMI report from late August, a growing number of grocers are willing to make more room in their stores for fresh prepared offerings as those sales in 2021 reached $21 billion, up 18.4% from 2020.
In August, Wakefern rolled out store-within-a-store sections in five of its New Jersey locations, all centered around meal solutions. Just a week earlier, also striving to meet the demand for quick meal options, Meijer launched Crafted Market by Meijer and Crafted Market Signature by Meijer, which are two lines of single-serve, heat-and-eat meals.