Since the pandemic brought us back into our kitchens, we have been experimenting with variations on how to make a meal.
Some of us started out honing skills like sourdough bread-making but eventually things got busier. Whether by choice or necessity, depending on our comfort level, we had to shift so we could get everything done.
Did you jump on any of the new trends, like ordering ingredients with recipes or prepared meals? Did you get used to ordering from one of the delivery apps? Or are you like me and my hubbie, old-fashioned home cooks who just carried on as before?
For the food delivery apps, the statistics change greatly when divided by generation. Dining in a restaurant has dropped considerably in the last year (from 55 to 30 percent) but ordering food is something 45 percent of British Columbians do at least every two weeks, according to a CTV poll.
It is younger folks who are driving the delivery app business. Here are the statistics by age group from 2020 to 2021:
Order food more often now:
18-34 yrs – 42%
35-54 yrs – 31%
55+ yrs – 13%
Use a delivery app:
18-34 yrs – 67%
35-54 yrs – 39%
55+ yrs – 13%
Food delivery apps here in the Okanagan work largely with fast food restaurants and large chains. They also offer places like gas stations and convenience stores. You pay restaurant prices plus a delivery fee.
Meal kits have also been promoted heavily since the pandemic started, and their business has grown. 26% of people say they have tried an app like Hello Fresh or GoodFood in the last two years. (Like the apps, most of these customers are under 55 years of age.)
These kits involve cooking the food according to recipes that are sent with the ingredients. You order what recipes you like and can change your choices or skip deliveries if you wish. One company even sends pre-chopped ingredients. But you still have to do the dishes yourself.
Here in the Okanagan, the companies offer meals per couple (recipes make enough for two people) or for a family. That makes it cheaper than some of the delivery app food, but then you need the time to cook it. There is one more convenient alternative.
Prepared meals are available from a few companies in the Okanagan, and can be delivered using an app in some cases or an in-house system in others. The minimum order amount means you need to either freeze some meals or be feeding a group of five people. There are vegan and gluten-free options, just like some restaurant menus.
The last new trend is grocery pick up or delivery. With a minimum order of about $30 and a delivery fee that varies by time-slot and city, you can get your grocery shopping done by a store employee. Then you either pick it up or it gets delivered (you have to be home as there is no refrigeration for items.)
Would you order fast food to be delivered? (You can get a Starbucks latte in the comfort of your own home.) Are you motivated enough to cook when you get home from work if everything is ready for you? Are you willing to have someone else pick your fruits and veggies? Are you willing to pay extra for the convenience of saving time? These are the questions I have for you this week.
I am hoping I can spark some conversation around your lunchroom or dinner table. I can’t offer an opinion from experience as I haven’t tried any of these intermediary systems. We still shop for our groceries and either eat out in person when that works or pick up food from the restaurant directly.
It isn’t possible to leave comments on this column. If you’d like to send your thoughts to me, you can send me an email or respond on the Happy Gourmand Facebook page.
If you want to share a compliment for a service, why not do it first with the food source – it will be so glad to hear from you. And the same goes if you have a complaint, so that they know what can be improved upon.
Remember, everything we cook isn’t perfect. When more variables are added, it’s even harder to get it right. A little grace is just part of having good taste.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.