Meal kit delivery services include meal kits that consist of pre-portioned ingredients plus cooking instructions for consumers. In 2023, this nuanced business sector performed exceptionally well –
- The global market size was estimated at $630 billion, a majority of $1+ trillion in global online food delivery revenues.
- The U.S. sector exceeded $8 billion. (IBISWorld 12/2023)
- By 2027, revenues are expected to reach 1.65 trillion(U.S.).
Meal kit delivery services, like FlexPro, have become increasingly popular thanks to several factors that have influenced the evolution of modern society.
A fundamental cause of the industry’s recent rapid growth has to do with the rise and need for remote work – call it the intersection of healthier eating options and nifty e-commerce options that sprung up when favorite hangouts and restaurants were forced to close temporarily during the pandemic that began at the end of 2019.
Understanding FlexPro Meals
FlexPro Meals are designed for people who want convenience, time-saving, delicious options, and total control of their meal delivery services. Consumers only need to heat and serve these chef-prepared meals when they arrive at their door because FlexPro has taken care of your shopping, cooking, and cleaning – in one simple meal.
FlexPro Meals provides consumers with control of their nutritional intake and food options by offering them a choice of the kind of delivery service they wish to receive.
FlexPro offers nearly limitless options, which include –
- FlexPro Meals
- Available in regular portions or large portions with extra protein. Choose to receive 7, 10. 15, 18, or 21 meals per week/box and the ability to change your meals at any time.
- The Pro Plan – similar options exist to the above, but you must commit to four or more orders, which are then discounted and include a healthy treat and the option to pay weekly.
- Meal Prep Box – in which you choose protein, carbs, and veggies by the pound, although there is a minimum order requirement.
- Power Treats – guilt-free, innovative, and tasty options.
FlexPro offers the ability to check out customer favorites or choose meals based on dietary goals or restrictions. The company even offers preference and allergen filters that allow you to select options that are dairy, gluten, pork, or beef-free, etc.
Meals vary widely, with most offering a caloric content of 330 to 500 calories for regular-sized portions. Larger portion meals go as high as 700 calories or more, with new meals introduced weekly.
All FlexPro meals are shipped flash-frozen just before shipping. The meals arrive in FlexPro’s custom “Fridge in a Box,” – which utilizes an insulated package that keeps the food safe during their trip from the company’s Kansas City professional kitchen. This ensures that the meals arrive fresh, and storing your FlexPro meals simply means transferring them to the fridge (if you plan to use them right away) or the freezer (to keep them for a later date).
Shelf Life of FlexPro Meals in the Fridge
According to FlexPro, the delivered meals are gourmet crafted specifically for the recipient and should be eaten within a week or so from the date of receipt. So, if storing FlexPro meals is in accordance with the recommended guidelines set forth by the company, the FlexPro meal shelf life is about seven to 10 days.
Proper Storage Techniques for FlexPro Meals
Meal kits, like all food, must be managed/handled properly if you are to prevent food from going bad. The most vulnerable populations at risk are those five or younger, seniors over 65, women who are pregnant, or individuals with compromised immune systems. FoodSafety.gov offers a comprehensive website of information about food/beverage storage.
Meal kits that arrive at your home need to remain at a safe temperature as this helps to prevent the germ growth that can make someone ill. Consider the following techniques and suggestions when properly preserving FlexPro meals –
- According to the CDC, the fridge should be set at 40°F (4°C) or below because bacteria grow exponentially when left at room temperature or sitting in any temp within the “Danger Zone,” a range that spans from 40°F to 140°F.
- Have the meals delivered when someone is at home so perishable foods can be stored quickly instead of being left outside.
- Never leave perishable food out for more than 2 hours. Reduce the maximum allowable time to one hour if the food is sitting in temps of 90°F +.
- Use the storage containers provided by FlexPro to get the best results.
Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs have the potential to transfer germs to ready-to-eat food unless properly separated; however, meal kits are previously cooked and flash frozen, so there is no raw protein unless you choose FlexPro’s Meal Prep Option.
Extending Shelf Life: Do’s and Don’ts
Meal kits are designed for ease of use, so it is important to follow the recommended storage instructions to get the best results. When they arrive, if you do not plan to use them immediately, simply put them in the freezer until ready for use. Just defrost the meal in the fridge for 12–24 hours before reheating.
Also, consider these suggestions –
- Make sure containers are airtight. The original containers should work fine as they are sealed and designed to keep food fresh. If you have leftovers, use glass jars, which are great options.
- Keep your fridge below 40°F (4°C) – ideally, the temperature of the refrigerator should be between 35°F and 38°F. Bacteria thrive, and food spoils when temps reach 40°F and 140°F.
- When defrosting your FlexPro Meal, do so inside the refrigerator, not on the refrigerator’s door. This is because temps vary and may impact food storage.
Reheating FlexPro Meals: Best Practices
FlexPro provides specific instructions on how to reheat their meals. To ensure you get the best results and tastiest of dishes, it is best to follow their guidelines –
Just defrost the meal in the fridge for 12–24 hours before you reheat it, remove the film, &
reheat the FlexPro meal in the microwave for only 2-3 minutes. Then enjoy!
If you want to reheat FlexPro’s meals without a microwave, you can –
- Use an Oven or Toaster Oven
For a more even reheating, you can use an oven/toaster oven, although it will take much longer. Preheat the toaster oven or conventional oven to 350°F (175°C) and transfer the FlexPro Meal to an oven-safe dish. Cover it to prevent the food from drying out. Reheat until the internal temp is around 165°F (74°C). Timing will differ depending on your oven, the altitude, and if the meal is frozen or defrosted.
- Use the Stove Top
While likely not the preferred method, parts of the meal can be reheated on the stove top. It is best to use a non-stick pan so the food does not stick. Simply heat on a low-medium heat and stir until heated throughout.
The rise in popularity of meal services can be attributed to the expediency they offer, the diverse and customizable options, and a shift in the modern way of life. Meal kits may not be for everyone, but if you consider that the meals save the time required to shop, prepare, and clean up, the price is not as pricey as it seems.
Give it a try for a week; it may help you meet your weight loss or maintenance objectives without breaking the bank.