A meal kit delivery service sends a box of food ingredients to your home that contains everything you need to prepare a complete meal, including the recipe and instructions for preparing. There are dozens of companies offering meal preparation kits, and they provide a convenient and delicious way to make dinner with no grocery store runs, little planning, and minimal prep. You simply go to the company’s website, pick the meals you want to make, choose the number of meals you want to purchase for a week, and select the number of people who will be eating. Most companies offer a variety of menus, and many include options for dietary restrictions and child-friendly diets. Meal delivery is truly a simple and convenient way to deliver delicious meals with little effort.
Meal preparation kits include fresh/perishable ingredients, so some of these foods are going to require refrigeration. Since the kits are usually delivered on a weekday when people may be away from home, there can be a time lag between when the boxes are delivered and when they are opened. For that reason, meal kit boxes are designed to keep cold ingredients cold (below 41oF) until the box is opened. Commonly, companies will use an in-box cooling system to ensure that temperature-sensitive ingredients maintain a refrigerated state during transit, delivery, and while waiting outside to be retrieved by customers. These needs are adjusted to the climate in the area of delivery to keep the food safe and maintain quality.
Regardless of how well the cooling box performs, it is imperative to follow food safety guidelines to avoid any foodborne infections due to improper handling of ingredients. Upon receiving a meal box, you should immediately refrigerate all of the perishable ingredients. If you need to store meat that won’t be cooked within two days, you should freeze it immediately. If some ingredients come frozen and require thawing, that should be done properly in the fridge or by submerging in cold water. If any of the ingredients look bad, smell bad, or taste bad, throw them out. You can easily contact customer service, and a refund is much better than a gastrointestinal infection. Be sure to cook everything properly. The instructions that come with the box should include time and temperature requirements to ensure food safety. You can find more information about proper temperatures here HGIC 3580, Cooking Meat Safely.
These meals often make large portions, so there is a good chance that you are going to have leftovers, and properly storing leftovers is also imperative to prevent a foodborne illness. It is important to put food away, especially meats, within two hours of cooking. Leftovers should be eaten within four days of storage because eating leftovers after this time greatly increases the risk of foodborne infection. It is important to reheat leftovers properly. The best way to avoid sickness from leftovers is to store them properly in an airtight container in the fridge and properly reheat them. For details on how to safely handle leftovers, visit HGIC 3606, Leftovers.
Overall, meal delivery is an excellent option for busy individuals who want a quick and easy meal. When following proper food safety precautions, you will have a convenient and safe meal. It can be affordable, easy, and delicious. For more details about food safety, please visit HGIC 3495, Food Safety Mistakes You Do Not Want to Make.
- USDA Food Safety Guidelines: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/steps-keep-food-safe