Meal kits – chop chop flop

29 Oct 2019

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Meal kits – chop chop flop

Do It Yourself meal kits have been around since the early 2000’s and rose quickly in popularity. Globally the business size is well over $2B. So why has this service become so popular?

Most of these companies win customers with a free meal or a discount on their first order. With pre measured ingredients and easy to follow instructions they offer a solution to busy people who wanted to prepare fresh meals for. Some companies even offer specific menu’s catering to special diets such as Paleo, Vegetarian or Keto. As a concept it seems like a great solution to a common problem.

But all good things come with a downside. They offer fixed menus in rotation and limited options for variety. The portions don’t generally allow for left overs and the packaging creates a bulky excess amount of trash or recycling to deal with. Not to mention the work of actually preparing the food. Although they advertise saving time, by allowing you to skip a trip to the grocery store. They usually don’t provide more than a few meals a week, so you still end up at the store to buy staples. You also still have all the work of chopping, cooking and cleaning up after the meal. A task that is less time consuming for singles then for families.

Although this industry quickly blossomed, the bloom might be fading from the rose a bit. Blue Apron is the largest and most widely used meal kit delivery service (Followed by Hello Fresh and Plated.) Although they seem to be able to easily lure in customers with free meals and trial packs, they have trouble maintaining a customer base long term. In fact Blue Apron’s stock has dropped precipitously since its IPO in 2017. Per meal costs or around $10 without leftovers is an issue.

In conclusion these services fill a need for some consumers. Or are at the very least a good short-term solution for people who need a few quick easy meals in a busy season. But in the long-term families are still looking for something better. Something that actually saves time, produces less waste, and offers variety, and healthy food prepared from fresh ingredients. All at an affordable cost.

Allowing our Genies to cook you a fresh healthy meal in your own kitchen may go towards solving the problem that some of the DIY meal kit companies could not solve.

Refernces:

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-meal-kit-delivery-service-market-worth-usd-8-94-billion-by-2025-hexa-research-300811555.html

https://slate.com/business/2017/06/blue-apron-customer-retention-low.html


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29 Oct 2019

A recent article released by NPR revealed a startling statistic. It published the results from a Survey by US Foods. That survey interviewed 500 food delivery drivers and 1500 food delivery customers. The results were disappointing to say the least. First revealing that 54% of those drivers found themselves tempted by the smell of a customer’s food. Additionally, nearly half of that 54% admitted to sampling the very food they were tasked with delivering. Not only is this a huge breach of trust, but it also raises issue of sanitization. The hands touching your food have been exchanging money with other patrons, getting in and out of their car, possibly even smoking. Those are the hands now rifling through the French fries you bought and paid for.

Even more unfortunately, this is a best-case scenario. We won’t even reference the many articles of vindictive drivers who tampered with food in retaliation of poor tips. You will not have to search hard to find plenty of stories of body parts and bodily fluids mixed together and even live streamed on Facebook before the food was delivered. Hardly appetizing you say? We agree.

Last year TheTakeout.com ran an article about a loophole in the Uber Eats Delivery Service policy. Basically, it stated that if the driver makes an attempt to contact the person who ordered the food but isn’t able to reach them, they can keep the food. According to a few posts from people claiming to be Uber drivers this was an easy way to score a free meal.

Uber is stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. Obvious acts of fraud or theft will result in termination from the company. But in the technical age of dropped calls and dead cell phone batteries it’s not hard to imagine a real failure to connect. As much as we’d all like to believe the best about everyone, the evidence clearly points to the faults of this system.

Food safety issues will always be a problem if the food you are eating wasn’t prepared in your own kitchen. The more steps we place between where our food was cooked and when we eat it, the more chances there are for human failure, contamination or theft. For the safest dining experience, eat food that’s been prepared in your own kitchen by someone you trust. CookinGenie does exactly that. We send our Genies to cook in your own kitchen.

References:
https://www.npr.org/2019/07/30/746600105/1-in-4-food-delivery-drivers-admit-to-eating-your-food
https://thetakeout.com/ubereats-drivers-loophole-steal-eat-food-1830879242

https://www.ibtimes.com/food-delivery-driver-dipped-his-testicles-customers-salsa-2769495

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Guests with Food - CookinGenie

28 Sep 2021

Cooking for someone with a severe food allergy can be intimidating. And with food allergies on the rise, it’s becoming more common than ever. You want people to enjoy your food. But you would never want to be responsible for giving someone a severe allergic reaction.

Thankfully, with the right knowledge and planning, cooking for guests with severe food allergies doesn’t have to be daunting. It will take some extra steps, but it’s always better safe than sorry. Here are some things to remember before cooking for guests with food allergies.

Know your allergens and their severity

People can have food allergies to just about anything. But food allergies, which are not the same as food sensitivities and intolerances, are not all created equal. Some people have allergies with mild symptoms like hives and a stomachache. Others may have allergies that could cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock, which may include dangerous symptoms like a swelling throat, fainting, wheezing, and trouble breathing.

While all allergies have the potential to be severe, certain ingredients are far more likely to cause extreme reactions. The 8 most common severe allergens are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, and wheat.

It’s important to understand the complexities of these allergies. Someone who’s allergic to milk can’t eat other milk-derived products such as cheese, yogurt, or ice cream. And while some of these allergies sound very similar, they can be different. For example, someone may be allergic to almonds, but not peanuts. Or they may be allergic to shrimp and scallops, but salmon is fine. Whatever the case may be, make sure you talk to your guests and understand exactly what it is they’re allergic to.

Avoid allergens entirely in the meal

Some people tend to think that if a guest has an allergy, they can just leave out that ingredient for that guest and it’ll be fine. While this may be true for some, in cases of severe allergies, the allergic person may not even need to directly consume the allergen to have a dangerous reaction. For example, an invisible trace of peanuts that can be spread through the air onto a dish may be enough to trigger an anaphylactic reaction to peanuts. So, if possible, it’s best to leave the allergen out of the entire meal, even for those who aren’t allergic to it.

Check labels

Reading labels can be a pain, but it’s an important safeguard against allergic reactions. Sometimes ingredients can have unexpected allergens. For example, Worcester sauce, which is a popular condiment for steak and burgers, often contains anchovy paste, making it unsuitable for people with seafood allergies. But, by the name, look, and flavor it, you would never know, making reading the labels all the more important. By law, common allergens are bolded on the bottom of the label, making it easier to identify them.

Additionally, because just a trace amount of an allergen can cause a reaction, you need to watch out for any possible exposure. Some foods, like prepackaged cookies, may not actively contain nuts but may be processed in the same facility as almonds. In this case, those cookies would not be safe to serve to someone with a severe nut allergy.

Clean and sanitize the kitchen

Before beginning to cook for someone with a severe food allergy, be sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize the kitchen, including surfaces and utensils you will use. There’s no telling if there may be trace amounts of the allergen floating around the kitchen. So, to be safe, give everything a good cleaning beforehand.

Be prepared for the worst-case scenario

If you take all the proper steps to protect against food allergies, you should have nothing to worry about. But just in case, you should be prepared to handle a severe allergic reaction. Make sure any guests with food allergies are carrying their EpiPen on them. Also ensure that someone in your party knows how to properly inject an EpiPen as the person having the reaction may not be capable of injecting it themselves.

The EpiPen will help immediately ease the symptoms of the reaction. While one person is injecting the victim with the EpiPen, someone else should call 911 to get the victim professional medical aid. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, try to keep the victim calm while lying on their back.

Anaphylactic reactions are scary, but if handled properly, everything should turn out fine. Less than 1% of anaphylactic reactions from food are fatal, according to the national institute of health.

CookinGenie takes allergies seriously

At CookinGenie, the chefs know that protecting customers from allergies is of the utmost importance and they’re experienced in cooking for people with serious allergies. Genies can modify orders to fit around allergies and the support team will work with every customer to craft the best meal.

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Healthy Ingredients_Tahini

14 Jul 2021

If you’ve ever dipped a carrot or pita chip into a bowl of hummus, you’ve likely been the lucky beneficiary of tahini — an extremely common, yet not commonly known ingredient that serves an integral role in middle eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. This incredible ingredient is a tasty, healthy, and versatile food that you’ll want to get to know.

A smooth paste made from grinding hulled sesame seeds, tahini is essentially sesame butter. With a delightful nutty flavor and a rich, creamy texture, tahini is almost the middle eastern equivalent of peanut butter, although tahini is a little bit looser, with an earthier, slightly more bitter flavor.

The appealing taste and texture of tahini lends itself to many tasty iterations in middle eastern cooking. Tahini is most well-known for being the glue that holds together quintessential middle eastern dips like hummus and baba ghanoush, (smoked eggplant dip) but it’s also be used in numerous other applications. It can be served as a stand-alone dip for crackers and vegetables, mixed with olive oil and lemon to make a full-bodied salad dressing, spread on toasted bread or pita, used as a marinade for grilled meats, slathered over roasted vegetables, blended into healthy fruit smoothies, or even used in desserts such as cakes and cookies.

Aside from its delicious taste and endless culinary utility, tahini is loaded with health benefits. It boasts high levels of healthy fatty acids and it’s a good source of protein, iron, calcium, antioxidants, dietary fibers, and a host of other important vitamins and minerals. This varied and impressive nutritional profile renders tahini a bona fide superfood and its rich levels of iron and protein make it an excellent ingredient for vegan and vegetarian cooking.

Among many other benefits, tahini can reduce inflammation, is good for weight loss, can strengthen the immune system, and may even help protect against heart disease and some cancers.

(Also ReadHealthy ingredients – turmeric)

You should be able to find tahini at your local grocery store in the international section, although it may sometimes require a trip to a specialty market or health foods store.

With all of its wonderful culinary variations and incredible health benefits, tahini is a great ingredient to start incorporating into your life. But with all new ingredients, sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin.

That’s where CookinGenie comes in. Whether it’s folded into a creamy homemade hummus, drizzled over crispy hand-rolled falafel, or topping a hearty chickpea shawarma salad, our genies offer an array of healthy, delicious, family-friendly dishes that will help you seamlessly blend tahini into your diet. Book one of our talented genies today to taste and experience this magical ingredient from the comfort of your own home.

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