Meal kits are once again trending throughout Canada. A meal kit is simply a healthy box of prepared ingredients to which you just have to apply the finishing touches. They first made their appearance some years back, but they are seeing a major resurgence. But why now?
Over the course of 2020, the world has changed in many significant ways. With the unprecedented nature of COVID-19, we have been faced with a crisis few of us were prepared for. In addition to the health consequences, global economies have crashed, people have lost their jobs, and new businesses have failed to get off the ground. However, not all of the consequences of the global shutdown have been negative.
While the memes that have been circulating might make you think that everyone is coming out of the crisis overweight and unfit, the reality in Canada is somewhat different. Canada is, in general, a healthy nation. Yes, we suffer from the same illnesses as people do worldwide, but they are not driven by particularly unhealthy national behaviors.
Despite the fact that a fair percentage of the population in the past few years has been overweight, our life expectancy is steadily increasing and Canadians are always on the lookout for effective fitness routines and healthy diets. This is particularly true during a time of increased awareness of public health crises.
Motivation is definitely difficult to find when the whole world is hunkering down to weather such a major storm. However, there are products and services which make it much easier to stay healthy. Meal kits are the perfect example of this. Instead of eating out multiple times a week, many people have opted for healthy meal kits in Canada, supplementing home fitness routines and mental health innovations like teletherapy.
Let’s take a look at how meal kits are influencing Canadian lifestyles, along with what is available in different regions.
Meal kits in Canada
There is no shortage of meal kit delivery services in Canada. And that is important because, as we all know, there is no one type of Canadian. Cultures differ from one region to the next. Even within a region, different kinds of people have different eating habits, sticking to certain diets for religious, ethical, nutrition, or health reasons.
Almost 10% of Canadians are vegetarian or vegan, for example, and therefore have certain nutritional and dietary requirements. Furthermore, different populations are deficient in certain food groups and will require meals targeted at remedying the issue.
That said, certain meal kits are popular throughout the country, capturing the loyalty of subscribers with delicious meals that cater to all tastes.
These are the popular meal kit delivery services according to region.
Toronto and Greater Toronto Area
Ontario locals have access to the most popular meal kit delivery services and more. In Toronto, as with most other locales, the “Big 3” meal kit companies dominate. These are:
- HelloFresh Toronto: HelloFresh is the biggest meal kit company, considering that it services regions around the world. Created in Germany, they have made it to other European countries such as the UK and the Netherlands, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. As they have been around since 2011, they have had plenty of time servicing millions of customers to refine their offerings.
- Chefs Plate: While HelloFresh has existed for almost a decade, Chefs Plate holds the honor of being Canada’s first meal kit delivery service. Launched in 2014, Chefs Plate was launched with the intention of providing nutritious farm-to-table meals. Chefs Plate was recently acquired by HelloFresh, but still exists as a separate entity providing its own spin on the service.
- Goodfood: Goodfood is based out of Montreal, but services regions throughout the country. It touts itself as “Canada’s #1 meal kit”, and although in success and popularity it is certainly smaller than foreign-owneed HelloFresh and Chefs Plate, their offerings are loved by loyal customers around the country. With the aid of celebrity chefs, they have created custom meals that will satisfy the most discerning taste buds.
In addition to the Big 3, Toronto residents also have access to the lesser-known, local provider, Fresh City Farms. Fresh City Farms recently acquired Prepd, who made cheap alternatives. Fresh City Farms sells itself as the “healthy” option (although their competitors do offer healthy diet-savvy meals as well). They are steadily growing and are a great alternative for anyone looking for a local option.
Calgary and Edmonton
In addition to the Big 3, residents of Calgary and Edmonton have access to great local alternatives. Rooted is based in Calgary, and was created by chef Sheena Rozak, who wanted to encourage local eating patterns.
SPUD is another alternative. SPUD was started in 1997 and is not strictly a meal kit company. Rather, it provides fresh and local food deliveries, and also offers limited meal kit options that are GMO-free.
Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec
As we have mentioned, Goodfood is based in Montreal, and therefore has a local advantage over the other members of the Big 3. Nonetheless, HelloFresh and Chefs Plate are popular in the region.
Local company COOK It made waves when it appeared on Quebec’s Dans l’oeil du dragon (essentially the local Dragon’s Den). It is still a small company, but offers excellent meals with elite ingredients.
In addition, Quebecers have access to Miss Fresh, a meal kit company that is partnered up with Metro Grocery stores. Most locals collect their kits at their local brick-and-mortar location.
Vancouver locals have access to the Big 3, along with Miss Fresh and a number of local providers. Eat Your Cake offers healthy meals that cater to paleo, keto, and other niche diets. Fresh Prep is a growing company committed to a sustainable, locally-driven model, even relying on their own delivery network.
FUUD is, like Miss Fresh, a meal kit company that is partnered with grocery stores and can be found in the aisles. Finally, 2 Guys With Knives provide high-end meals that are suited for the athletic types.
Halifax and the Maritimes
Halifax and the Maritimes now have access to all of the Big 3, although that was not always the case. If you are looking for local alternatives, however, the closest you will get is Saute, a pre-made meal service that offers classic, vegetarian, and weight-loss plans.
Winnipeg, Regina, and Saskatoon
Finally, Winnipeg, Regina, and Saskatoon all have access to the Big 3 and Miss Fresh. There is one local alternative, Zesty Kits, which offers healthy plans, including a clean food plan, a plant-based plan, and a vegan plan.
For Canadians who are focused on healthy-eating, meal kits have provided a welcome alternative during the COVID-19 crisis. They are making a major comeback, and while the Big 3 of HelloFresh, Chefs Plate, and Goodfood dominate the market, there are some excellent emerging competitors based in multiple regions around the country.
As a nation that is becoming increasingly health-conscious, meal kits are an easy and convenient way of eating meals that are nutritious, delicious, and affordable.