By GALEN HARRIS
ATLANTA — This city’s food industry is always cutting-edge.
As more people move into the city, restaurants are popping up practically overnight. At the same time, residents are getting busier and have many choices when it comes to food, but not always the time and creativity for new dishes.
Young business professionals and families in Atlanta are always working to find different ways to prepare the traditional family meals.
With meal kit and grocery delivery services on the rise, residents are starting to find services that work for their specific needs. Companies such as Zifty, HelloFresh and Instacart are some of the major players in the Atlanta food delivery market.
Atlanta resident Jessica Graham decided that she needed something different when it came to dinner time that went along with her routine.
“With my busy schedule, when I am too tired to cook, I need other options,” Graham said. “My girlfriend and I work opposite schedules, and there are some things that are more convenient for us.”
Graham attempted different meal kit delivery services to no avail.
“I tried the meal delivery boxes like Blue Apron, but with working in retail, you never know what your schedule will look like, so the food would still just sit outside all day,” Graham said. “I also don’t feel as though there were as many choices.”
Graham was then able to find a solution in the Atlanta company Zifty. The company delivers food from nearby restaurants and stores straight to its customers.
“Out of all the services I have tried, Zifty works best for me,” Graham said. “It is really consistent, which is what I need.”
Zifty partners with the local restaurants in customers’s vicinities in order to deliver food straight to their customers’s doorsteps.
Though there is a bit of a wait time, as Graham mentioned, customers can order food from any restaurant in participating areas.
HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service started in Berlin and delivers make at home meals in nine countries.
“The majority of our customers are families in dual income households,” said Shara Siegel, senior manager of public relations at HelloFresh. “This includes young couples, families with young children as well as empty-nesters.”
Customers of HelloFresh have the ability to choose from seven categories of meal kits:
1. Fit Meals, under 650 calories
2. Quick Meals, take less than 30 minutes
3. Variety Meals, help spice up traditional meals
4. Chef’s Choice, meals from assorted list especially made by HelloFresh chefs
5-7. Beef, pork, and seafood-free meals, perfect for vegetarian customers
“We have been using HelloFresh for about a year, maybe less,” user Alison Hill said. “We chose them because they were one of the only companies that had strictly vegetarian options.”
Trying out a new diet can come with its challenges.
“We had no idea what we were doing when it came to vegetarian meals,” Hill said. “Now, we have over 100 recipes to choose from.”
When Hill and her boyfriend started working vegetarian options into their weekly meals, they were able to transition with the help of the recipes provided by HelloFresh.
“We are the only meal kit delivery service with a registered dietitian on staff and are extremely transparent about our nutrition,” Shara Siegel said. “I review all recipes before they make it onto the menu and make sure they meet the nutritional guidelines set.”
Fresh supplies are an important aspect of having a successful food delivery service, which promotes healthy habits.
“Our main focus in supplies for produce, proteins and grocery items is quality,” Siegel said. “We figure out for each item what is the best way to bring it to the doorstep of the customer.”
“They send different proteins that you wouldn’t think would pair together, but they are very flavorful,” Hill said. “You have the option to change up things as well.”
Another perk of using HelloFresh came with its partnership with renowned chef Jamie Oliver.
In January 2016, HelloFresh partnered with Oliver to provide one dish per week specially created by the chef himself. The proceeds of these meals are donated to the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, which is working to get healthy meal options to those around the world.
Grocery store delivery services once seemed to be a thing of the future. Well future, meet Instacart.
Customers of Instacart are able to choose their grocery items from any of the stores in their surrounding areas while having an Instacart shopper pick up and deliver the order.
“They will go to Kroger, Publix, Costco or even Whole Foods for what you need,” Graham said. “Stores are starting to have designated spots for them, so they can just pull up and go.”
Once a customer types in his or her location to the Instacart website, they are able to choose from a list of stores provided to them. Once a store is chosen, the prices of items are then shown for that particular store’s location.
“Sometimes, the prices are higher than advertised, and they will let you know,” Graham said. “If you have something that you want and the store doesn’t have it, they will give you a call and offer other suggestions, or you are able to take it out of your cart altogether.”
With Instacart, users and stores are even able to post suggested recipes that customers can buy straight from the website. Once a user has found a recipe to follow, they can add the items to their carts to make the dishes at home themselves.
As new companies emerge to change the food delivery world, customers can start to see which services work best for them.
One day, it might be a meal kit, and the next just ordering a pizza from down the street. Luckily for consumers, food delivery caters to them.