It seems like the lives of people in every generation are busier than those of their predecessors. People scramble to make deadlines, get to their spin classes on time, walk the dog and squeeze in a couple hours of quality time with their kids. All the while, the focus on whole, healthy living is on the rise, pressuring people to forgo that microwave dinner and delivery for nutritious homemade fare. People demand to know what they are putting into their bodies, beyond just reading labels. Consumers inquire about the sustainability of the vegetables on their table and the quality of life afforded to their steaks pre-slaughter.
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So how does this generation manage to maintain their hyper-awareness of each meal between eight-hour shifts and ferrying children to soccer matches? For many modern families, the answer lies in food start-ups. Especially in larger metropolitan areas, healthy, whole meals can be curated and carried right to your door, and an increasing demand for this type of delivery is making this luxury increasingly affordable. Here are five ways in which food star-ups are changing the way the workforce dines:
Mobile Apps for Healthy Foodies
There are times when you must dine out, whether it be for business or pleasure. With apps such as Tasteful, you no longer have to take a gamble on a restaurant based on a handful of reviews or the online claims of the business itself. This app is designed with complete transparency in mind for people who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle even when dining out. Apps like this allow consumers to fully customize their criteria, whether they are in search of a vegan-, paleo- or low carb-friendly restaurant.
They work hand in hand with the United States Healthful Food Council’s REAL Certified Program, which audits and certifies restaurants to determine if they qualify for the REAL (Responsible Epicurean and Agricultural Leadership) label. Since this label is not taken lightly, you can rest assured that a REAL certified restaurant has opted to use products that are healthy and sustainably produced, which is becoming increasingly important to consumers a public awareness grows of the negative environmental impact big farms can have.
Ingredient Delivery Services
Like an ultra-modern Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) delivery, programs like Blue Apron and Terra’s Kitchen accommodate home chefs who want to use the freshest and healthiest ingredients, but may not have time to run to the market a few times a week. Not only do they deliver fresh products, they deliver all of the ingredients for every recipe, from grains to vegetables to meat. Comprehensive recipes are included to bring the basis for home-cooked meals to your door. This is an emerging option for households who want to keep the traditions of family meal times alive and optimize togetherness.
Streamlining Supplier Management for Restaurants
Behind the consumer lines are the farmers, chefs and suppliers working tirelessly to bring quality food into restaurants and catering operations. New technologies and start-ups are working to create a more seamless link from farm to fork, to make it easier for the chef to source his poultry, pork and pineapples all from the same platform. Rather than the old method of chasing down multiple suppliers, farmers and wine reps each week, apps like BlueCart allow chefs to place all of their orders into a single platform, which does the rest of the work for them.
Approaching the Basics in a New Way
In the business of starting over and reevaluating lifelong food habits, Hampton Creek is a start-up that strives to change the way consumers approach things as basic as mayonnaise and cookie dough. By starting from scratch and taking all the animal-based ingredients out of mayo and cookies, Hampton Creek has developed recipes that diminish the carbon footprint of their products by using vegetable oils, starches and vinegars and leaving the eggs behind forever. Instead of consumers denying themselves the comfort foods they grew up with, this company is in the business of creating a healthy, affordable product that tastes just like the real thing and requires far less water and other natural resources to produce.
Established Start-ups are Joining the Food Game
Yes, even Uber is jumping on the food start-up train. Still in its nascent phase, the transportation network is beginning to offer food delivery services in the nation’s larger cities. With UberEats, customers can order meals from their local favorite restaurants and have a driver deliver the meal anywhere they want. While this service is not yet available in every city, New York alone offers it for over one hundred restaurants, so it’s probably safe to say it’s catching on and expanding quickly.
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In a tech-crazed world, a recent trend of getting back to basics and cultivating an environment of healthy, wholesome living is popping up in the most unlikely of places – tech start-ups. This generation has taken a collective deep breath and shown that they require balance and variety in their hectic daily lives, and the same developers who have increased the speed of industry are also working to maintain consumers’ quality of living.