Urban Roots Veggie Side Kits expansion: ‘Home cooking shouldn’t require a subscription’

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

Urban Roots Veggie Side Kits are now available in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods locations.
Urban Roots Veggie Side Kits are now available in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods locations.

Related tags Whole foods market Vegetables Meal kits

Convenient solutions for getting dinner on the table at a reasonable hour are growing and the expansion of produce distributor Baldor Specialty Foods’ retail line, Urban Roots Veggie Side Kits, is intended to give consumers a time-saving and creative culinary edge to meal prep.

The vegetable side dishes under the brand name ‘Urban Roots’ have expanded to all northeast Whole Foods Markets after proving popular with shoppers during a small-scale rollout.

“Whole Foods’ shoppers appreciate the fresh and unique produce, and Baldor combines both qualities in these easy-to-prepare side dish kits,”​ Bryan Patmore, Baldor’s director of retail sales, said.

Urban Roots kits are made from scratch daily using the same produce and specialty ingredients Baldor delivers to restaurants across the country. The produce distributor’s logistical expertise allows for 24-hour turnaround from Baldor’s facilities to Whole Foods store shelves.

“Home cooks know they are getting seasonal ingredients at the peak of freshness,”​ Baldor said.

When asked how Urban Roots veggie side kits differ from the packaged, pre-chopped fruits and veggies in Whole Foods produce markets, the company explained each kit comes with a main vegetable component, herbs, and seasonings, accompanied by a recipe that promises a five-minute prep time for some kits.

Each kit can serve as a side for two people or an entire meal for one, the company added.

The brand’s two main varieties, roasting side kits and cauliflower rice kits, are available in 10 varieties including Spanish style potatoes, hot honey carrot fries, broccoli fried cauliflower rice, and Moroccan spiced cauliflower rice.

Urban Roots kits are available through direct-to-consumer services such as Food Kick, FreshDirect, Jet, and Peapod.

Dinner is still a special occasion

Getting an entire meal on the table in under 30 minutes while still maintaining the traditional components of dinner has become the top mission for most busy consumers, especially families, and food companies must respond to those needs, according to NPD Group food industry advisor, David Portalatin.

“Consumers are solving for convenience at dinner time in new ways while still retaining dinner meal traditions. Food companies need to understand these shifts in order to meet the needs of their consumers and grow their business,”​ Portalatin said.

Whereas breakfast and lunch have become more snack-driven and on-the-go, dinner is still a sit-down occasion for many Americans maintaining the familiar structure of a mostly hot main dish paired with a side, Portalatin added.

Fresh, refrigerated, and blended meals (meals that include a restaurant-made or prepared food) are among the types of dinner items forecasted to grow over the next five years, according to NPD Group.

What is also changing is the idea and definition of what qualifies as a “home-made/made-from-scratch” ​meal.

For many consumers – millennials and Gen Xers – their idea of a “home-made” ​meal has shifted and as long as they play a part in the meal preparation process, they feel as if they made it from scratch.

While many meal kit companies have responded to this newer consumer behavior, the online subscription-based model hasn’t proved very ‘sticky’ for companies, and companies including Blue Apron​ and Home Chef​ have embraced the omni-channel approach moving into grocery retail to meet consumers at the exact moment they are planning dinner.

The physical involvement in meal prep has also shortened for many, and cutting out the slicing and dicing step has become even more of a selling point.

“Home cooking shouldn’t require a subscription,”​ Urban Roots said.

“Our Urban Roots kits are great a solution for dinnertime - easy to prepare and flexible as a side dish or center of plate option,”​ said Baldor marketing Director, Leigh Denardo.

The kits “require little to no chopping and unlike traditional meal prep kits, there’s no subscription or commitment necessary.”

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