College Dining Halls Will Face Challenges From a New Competitor: Meal Kits


Historically, the university or college dining hall has been a fantastic place for students to gather with friends, discuss the latest happenings and enjoy a meal together. However, in the age of COVID-19 and social distancing, mealtimes are not the same as they were before – and some college students feel as if the dining hall isn’t providing the same enjoyable experience for them that it used to. In response, some students are rethinking their options for day-to-day meals. They now have an additional option to consider: Meal kit delivery services like HelloFresh (You can view a HelloFresh review for 2021at this link).

Meal kits have been soaring in popularity since the start of the COVID-19 crisis. They’re the ideal solution for time-strapped people who want to enjoy fresh food but don’t want to spend time putting elaborate meals together or sourcing fresh ingredients at the grocery store.

Businesses that operate under this model provide kits and recipes the home cook can use to create delicious, appealing, easy-to-prepare meals in their own kitchen. Kits typically include the exact quantity of ingredients needed to prepare each meal plus simple step-by-step instructions the consumer can use to duplicate the meal at home.

When using the kit exactly as intended, and following the instructions precisely, a person can typically make a tasty and satisfying meal in about half an hours’ time.

Some of the main selling points for these services include time savings, convenience, chef-curated meals and the fact that it’s a total no-brainer for the busy college student – even one with minimal cooking experience -- to create a truly nourishing meal. In the aftermath of COVID-19, another obvious selling point is that people can completely avoid making unnecessary trips to the grocery store when they choose to have their meal kits delivered.

Meal kit users have already been enjoying broad availability of these services across North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia. However, meal kit delivery services are now able to reach an even greater number of consumers, thanks to recent efforts made by HelloFresh and Sodexo to deliver meal kits to students at over 300 U.S. colleges and universities.

Central to this new program is Sodexo’s BiteU app, which features options for students to select the meals they want, place their orders for the food and then schedule their preferred meal kits to be delivered. Options are available for both omnivores and vegetarians. Ordering is flexible, and it is possible for students to cancel their order or change it if they happen to change their minds after placing the initial order.

The BiteU app includes options to order meal kits made available by two different brands: HelloFresh and EveryPlate. HelloFresh is one of the best-known meal delivery kit services, offering menu items that have included beef and cheese tostadas, chicken and biscuit pot pie, and crispy Cajun chicken sandwiches. HelloFresh typically makes more than 25 different recipes available each week.

The EveryPlate brand offers budget-conscious meals that are ideal for cash-strapped university students to partake in. Some popular menu items from EveryPlate include Dijon chicken sausage burgers, French onion chicken, sweet potato and black bean stew, and Kung Pao beef bowls. Menus change weekly, so you’re sure to enjoy a broad variety of different food options.

Whether you’re a college student who’s tired of the “new normal” experience at the university dining hall, or a home chef who’d be interested in diversifying your cooking, it’s definitely worth it to consider trying a meal kit delivery plan. Either way, meal kits can save you time and introduce you to new dishes that you’d enjoy preparing at home.

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