The newcomer to the increasingly crowded category eschews the large cardboard boxes, foam packaging and dry ice or cool packs favored by some home delivery meal kits in favor of an eco-friendly delivery vessel, CEO Michael McDevitt told FoodNavigator-USA.
The vessel, which has pull-out shelves for easily unpacking ingredients, is reusable so it creates zero waste, he said.
He explained that Terra's Kitchen schedules a pick-up time to retrieve the vessel and sanitize before it is used again, so consumers don’t need to worry about returning or washing the container.
Like many competitors, though, the individual ingredients are still wrapped in separate containers inside the larger delivery vessel. However, McDevitt said, these are all recyclable.
Creating a reusable vessel, which recalls the glass bottles that milk men used to deliver and retrieve, was important to McDevitt because as a heavy meal kit user prior to launching in June 2015, he said he felt “shameful walking all my cardboard delivery boxes out to the trash each week.”
The vessel also sets Terra's Kitchen apart from competitors because it allows the firm to create meals that can be made in 30 minutes or less compared to the more typical hour needed by other delivery services, McDevitt said. However, some meal kit services do offer faster options that can be made between 20 and 45 minutes.
McDevitt explained the vessel helps with saving time because it has proprietary, climate-controlling technology that allows Terra's Kitchen to completely chop, slice and prep ingredients, which is a major timesaver for consumers. Some other services pre-portion but do not prep all the ingredients for meals.
“Time is the most valuable asset out there,” and Terra's Kitchen wants to save consumers prep time so they have more time for what matters – like eating with loved ones.
In that regard, Terra's Kitchen is helping to “bring back the family dinner around the table, which has diminished over the years” as families face competing priorities for time, McDevitt said.
“I grew up with my family eating around the dinner table and we are still incredibly tight in part because of that,” McDevitt said. He added he wants others to enjoy that same experience and long-term benefit.
“We try to really hone in on what is realistic” in terms of how much time consumers can give to making dinner and then making it possible for the to do that with the resources they have, he said.
Healthy meals for a “post weight-loss” focused society
With 15 years of experience in the weight loss food space prior to starting Terra's Kitchen, McDevitt said Terra's Kitchen is well positioned to tap into the evolving “post weight-loss” focused food space where consumers are now less concerned about counting calories and controlling their weight with bars and shakes and more interested in eating real food.
He explained Terra's Kitchen takes a “holistic approach” to providing delicious and nutritious meals that are healthy and clean. And while his company makes no claims about helping with weight loss, it does educate consumers about the nutritional value of their meals.
Consumers also can easily find meals on Terra's Kitchen’s seasonal menus that fit their dietary preferences, such as omnivore, gluten-free, paleo and vegetarian.
The company’s strategy for differentiating itself is paying off as illustrated by its ability to expand nationwide after only nine months of business. It launched on the West Coast in June 2015 and in March added a distribution facility to serve the East Coast.