As the demand for meal delivery services continues to rise, one question at the forefront of consumers’ minds is how to ensure their delivered meals or meal kits arrive fresh and safe.
In a market flooded with options, maintaining the quality and safety of delivered food is crucial. Spoiled meals can not only disappoint customers but also deter them from using meal delivery services altogether.
Then there’s also meal-kit delivery services. Meal boxes are the modern solution to grocery shopping, and they have revolutionized how we approach meal prep. With meal kit delivery services, you can customize the number of meals you receive each week. Before you know it, breakfast, lunch, or dinner is delivered at your doorstep.
We explore the science behind food freshness during delivery, drawing some insights from HelloFresh, which recently launched its ready-to-eat delivery service in the UK.
From the fridge
The advent of technology and streamlined logistics has come to the rescue with innovative solutions.
Most meal delivery services have a direct pipeline for receiving fresh foods and ingredients. They don’t send someone to the farmer’s market to pick up fresh produce; instead, they meticulously plan meals and order the required ingredients. This approach streamlines the supply chain, leaving little time for food to spoil.
What happens behind the scenes at HelloFresh? Chefs create meals using premium ingredients while adhering to strict food safety and quality standards. Once prepared, the meals are packaged for delivery, preserving their freshness and quality.
Maintaining freshness in transit
“The safety of our customers and the quality of our ingredients are our top priorities,” says HelloFresh. As it should be in the fresh delivery space.
Meal delivery systems should prioritize proper storage as a critical step in preserving freshness. Every stage of the supply chain should ensure that ingredients remain fresh until they reach your doorstep.
Fresh foods are particularly sensitive to exposure to excess air, which can hasten spoilage. Meal delivery services have foreseen this challenge. Most of them take the extra effort to package ingredients individually, reducing the air contact with the food and extending its freshness. The process of adequately sealing each individual food item starts with having the right equipment, such as a meal prep packaging machine.
The most significant hurdle is that fresh food cannot be stored in bulk, and the cool chain must be consistently maintained. HelloFresh tackles this issue through its make-to-order business model, sourcing precise quantities based on customer orders and predictive algorithms, thereby minimizing unsold inventory and food waste.
Those machines we mentioned earlier play a crucial role in sealing food containers, employing vacuum-sealing techniques to remove excess air. This ensures that no additional air circulates around the food inside, significantly prolonging its freshness.
Cutting-edge equipment like the ILPRA speedy tray sealer, for example, effectively and efficiently packages each individual food item, all while reducing waste during the process.
Delivering fresh food to customers residing outside major metropolitan areas presents logistical challenges.
However, HelloFresh has diversified delivery networks based on location. The company owns the entire downstream supply chain in the Netherlands and Belgium, including rural areas.
Utilizing the HelloFresh delivery fleet, complete with distribution hubs and chilled vehicles, ensures meals reach customers in pristine condition. In the United States, a combination of their fleet and trusted third-party providers covers both metropolitan and rural areas. Insulated boxes with ice packs maintain the cool chain, regardless of the delivery location.
Meal delivery services have made it possible to enjoy fresh food without the hassle of navigating crowded grocery stores or farmers’ markets.
These services bring delicious ingredients for new recipes straight to your door. They invest the time and effort to ensure that every aspect of their supply chain keeps ingredients fresh, from properly storing fruits to utilizing the industry’s best equipment.