The Ultimate Guide to Packaging Meal Kits to Keep Them Fresh

Today’s diners seek both convenience and nutritious options at mealtime, giving rise to meal kits. Historically, these ideals clashed, with processed convenience foods lacking nutrition, while cooking from scratch involved store trips, ingredient challenges, portion sizes, and time-consuming preparation. 

Innovative meal delivery services unite convenience and healthy eating, creating a booming market. In the U.S., many city-dwelling millennials who went to college with more than one income source were the first to try meal delivery services. 

They like quick take-out meals, especially for one or two people. They also care a lot about what’s in their food and how healthy it is.

meal kits

The Rise of the Discerning Market 

Meal kit delivery companies have gained popularity among young professionals, especially those living in and around big cities. Many in this group don’t own cars, making grocery shopping challenging. 

Carrying heavy bags on public transit to high-rise apartments could be better. These city dwellers are willing to pay extra for convenience and quality ingredients delivered to their doorstep, valuing their time and food quality.

How to Choose Meal Packaging

With the industry producing almost a billion pounds of packaging waste, it’s crucial to know what makes up this waste. Packaging and cooling materials make up about two-thirds of the total shipment weight.

Meal kit packaging comes in various types, like pre-cooked or cook-and-eat, with fresh ingredients and recipes. They can be online subscriptions or picked up at local spots. Packaging is vital, with corrugated boxes for protection and fragile items needing cushioning. Without good insulation, ingredients can spoil, costing money and losing customer trust.

1. Consider the Content

Differences in packaging for fresh and frozen items arise from the perishable nature of the ingredients. Both require specific packaging and temperature control during transportation, from the facility to trailer transit and the final leg on a delivery truck. 

Frozen food in meal kits demands more robust insulation and increased refrigeration. Precise temperature requirements are crucial for product safety and dictate the necessary amounts of insulation and refrigeration. Packaging varies due to temperature sensitivity, impact insulation, and refrigerant quantities.

2. Travel Time 

Transit times are crucial, including when consumers can access and refrigerate the contents. It can be without refrigeration for hours or even days, from the assembly facility to the consumer’s kitchen. 

To determine the appropriate insulated meal kit packaging, it’s essential to calculate transit time, consider potential delays, and use historical courier data on transit times to customers.

Moreover, it’s essential to acknowledge that many consumers might be away during delivery. Therefore, the contents must remain at the right temperature while sitting on a doorstep until the consumer retrieves and stores them appropriately. 

Understanding the time it takes for the meal boxes to travel from packaging to safe delivery aids in selecting the proper packaging to preserve food quality and safety throughout the journey.

3. Changes in Temperature 

Temperature fluctuations are a critical consideration. Unless a meal kit is transported in a temperature-controlled truck, the requirements for Maine’s delivery in December differ from those for Texas in July. 

Perishable food can see bacteria multiply rapidly, even doubling every 20 minutes. The outdoor temperature dictates the shipment’s needs, influencing the necessary insulation, refrigeration, and packaging to sustain the proper temperature throughout varying weather conditions and transit durations.

4. Reusability 

Recyclability is gaining importance as more customers prioritize eco-friendly choices. Companies are urged to minimize meal kit delivery packaging, enhance recyclability (curbside and in-store drop-off), or promote material reusability. 

Sustainability factors now significantly influence consumer brand choices, with many willing to pay extra for eco-conscious products. Consumers are open to paying a premium for items with sustainable packaging.

Get Cooking with Fresh Meal Kits Today!

Ready to revolutionize your packaging with sustainability and efficiency in mind? Contact Plan IT Packaging today! Our experts can help you elevate your packaging game while reducing environmental impact. 

Let’s collaborate to create the future of meal kits and their packaging together. Reach out now, and let’s begin your journey to fresher, greener, and more efficient packaging solutions.

Call now for a free case consultation.

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