Things haven’t changed much in the way we buy and consume food in the last few decades. There have been two mainstream options throughout recent history, cooking at home and going to a restaurant. You don’t have to look far to find frustrations with each.
Preparing meals at home means setting aside time to drive to the grocery store with a (hopefully complete) list, walk around for a half hour or more picking out groceries, and then taking the time to prepare each meal - not to mention crossing your fingers hoping you haven’t made way too much or too little for everyone. And lets face it, it takes time and experience to learn how to prepare a meal that you can truly be proud of.
We all love a good restaurant. I have friends who eat out every single meal. But as James Mulcahy from Zagat will tell you the average meal out will set you back $40.53. That’s a great way to keep your bank account from getting too big. Let’s not forget that almost all restaurants make health sacrifices to keep your taste buds dragging you back. Or that eating out can take just as much time as cooking a meal at home.
Lucky for food lovers everywhere, there are startups and tech giants popping up in all different areas of the food space fighting for your fork. Here are a few of the ways that you may be fueling up in 2025:
Grocery delivery. Amazon and Google have entered the ring here alongside smaller companies like Peapod. These companies are fighting for the $649 billion grocery sales in the US, and a much larger world market. Each service varies slightly but at the core they make your grocery runs for you. They really set themselves aside from grocery-getters of the past by offering things that aren’t available at your local grocery stores for very reasonable fees.
Scheduled pre-portioned ingredient delivery. There are now multiple large players such as Blue Apron, Plated, Hello Fresh, Home Chef, and Purple Carrot which all offer pre-portioned meals that all you need to do is quickly prep, follow the easy steps, and enjoy your meal. These services will probably win a significant share of the market because they allow people to enjoy the activity of cooking while cutting out the hassles. There are still some issues to be worked out (ideally the cost will come down), but the concept has obvious advantages.
Scheduled pre-cooked meal delivery. Companies such as Sprig or Munchery will deliver scheduled weekly or biweekly cooked & packaged meals - all you need to do is heat them up. These meals are prepared by professional chefs and designed to be reheated - so you don’t end up with chalky potatoes and chewy pasta. There are services catering to all sorts of health requirements bringing the vegan, paleo, and gluten free lifestyle without the obsessive paranoia that usually comes with these choices.
Meal delivery on-demand. Postmates will deliver restaurant meals (or just about anything else) right to your door. You don’t have to fight for a parking space you’ll only use for 2 minutes while running in to get takeout, or sit at the table while your food is being prepared. You just get your favorite restaurant food served to you in the comfort of your own home.
Meal alternatives. I remember as a kid hearing about how in the future we’ll be able to swallow a pill and be fueled for the day. Soylent, the nutritionally complete, ready to drink, meal in a bottle is the closest thing available. To me, Soylent represents one step too far over the line of compromise. Food is such an integral part of life that it feels in a way like giving up a basic need. But there will always be times where there are more pressing concerns than taking in the rich umami of a sushi roll and its good to know there’s a nutritious alternative to a quick donut or snack bar.
Which of these methods do you see working for you and your family in the future?
Would you serve up a gallon of Soylent to your family when in a rush?
Any ideas how to improve the way we nourish ourselves?