Meal kits hooked on seafood

 Home kit companies that deliver weekly upscale meals of your choice has grown into a more than $2 billion business since its start up in 2012.

With Amazon and its new purchase, Whole Foods, now entering the meal kit arena, the trend will really take off.

Meal kits typically cost $60 to $70 per week for three, two-person meals.  They include portioned, high quality ingredients with foolproof cooking instructions.

And the kits offer a different kind of   convenience –

“It’s not convenience in the way we typically think of cooking – it’s not a tv dinner where you took the cooking aspect away from people. This is the sourcing convenience – in sourcing of the ingredients but it still leaves the creativity and the home cooking as part of it. I think the insight into that is quite great.”

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Tom Sunderland is vice president of marketing at Ocean Beauty Seafoods, which operates six processing plants in Alaska. The company already is involved in providing seafood to meal kit makers.  He says advances in logistics and packaging make quick and safe seafood delivery better than ever. The kit concept also reduces waste.

“The fish or the meat is portioned just right, the vegetables are portioned to this particular dinner and recipe and I think that’s got to be a great thing.  And since this has been taken care of,  that particular aspect of the waste stream is greatly diminished. “

The Alaska seafood brand   fits the upscale quality call, Sunderland says. And as menus feature new items throughout the year, it broadens the offerings for Alaska.

“If they can manage the rotation of a specific product with a relatively fixed volume at certain times that can really work well. That can match up really well with how Alaska product is managed in inventory.”

Perhaps the biggest plus is that the seafood will be delivered directly to home kitchens.

For decades research has shown that roughly 65 percent of Americans eat seafood only at restaurants because they claim they don’t know how to cook it.

Sunderland says the growing meal kit trend could be a game changer –

“That is one of the great points about this. It’s all about people cooking fish.   Americans are afraid to cook fish and when they get fish in this format, they are getting a real high quality fish portioned correctly with very specific directions telling how to succeed with it. That to me is key.”

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