Have you ever bought a meal kit, and tried using it? Meal kits are gaining popularity around the world, and there are specialty stores and chains that sell only such products, making it easy for anyone to purchase food with all ingredients in one bag. ST visited a meal kit store in person, purchased one, and tried it. .....................................................................................Ed
Food trends are changing as a result of non-face-to-face situations, such as prolonged telecommuting and social distancing measures due to COVID-19. In the meantime, while we used to take care of our meal mainly through delivery or dining out, ‘homecooked meals’ have started attracting attention. So, in the spotlight at the moment is the ‘MEAL KIT.’ Meal Kit is a combination of the words, ‘meal’ and ‘kit,’ something we can call collectively as “cooking box” or “recipe box.” It consists of fresh foods, unlike frozen food, and provides a set of trimmed ingredients, sauce, and recipe.
Why has the Meal Kit become so popular? It’s not only because of non-contact situations due to COVID-19, but its features have
become a welcome addition. First, it can provide consumers ‘trimmed, fresh ingredients.’ For example, in the case of ‘mille feuille nabe,’ among the most common offerings in a meal kit, if we cook mille feuille nabe in person without the Meal Kit, we have to stack all of the ingredients, such as cabbages, sesame leaves, and beefs in layers. However, with the Meal Kit, we do not have to trim the ingredients. We just buy a Meal Kit, and boil it in a pot. The two most demanding processes of preparing and trimming ingredients in cooking can be omitted entirely.
Second, you can easily eat dishes that are cumbersome to make. With video content media, such as YouTube and TV, you can get easy access to a variety of foods, so you are able to produce dishes that you haven’t tried because the ingredients are expensive, or the recipe is so complicated. Representatively, YouTuber Park Mak-rye’s Noodles Meal Kit was released in July. Grandmother Park Mak-rye, who usually showed various dishes on her YouTube channel, released Mugeunji Bibim Noodles and Soy Sauce Bibim Noodles under the concept of ‘Grandmother’s Warm Taste.’ This Meal Kit has been very responsive to subscribers who have wanted to eat noodles, while watching Park Mak-rye’s YouTube channel. Collaborations with Meal Kit have recently become a trend, since it can be a good business product for YouTubers.
In the midst of this flood of Meal Kits, ST purchased and used a Meal Kit at an unmanned Meal Kit store in Suwon, and came aup with vivid reviews below.
1 Choose a Meal kit, and pay for it.
2 Read the instructions, and prepare the ingredients.
3 Put all of the ingredients, water, and sauce in a pot, and boil it for 5-8 minutes.
4 DONE! You are a chef now!
There is one disadvantage of Meal Kit when making it in person. You may have already noticed, but Meal Kit has plenty of packaging. Compared to the usual preparation of a meal, each ingredient of the meal kit is vacuum-packed, resulting in more trash. In a situation where environmental issues are becoming more sensitive, can Meal Kit stay long in the market? Although it is popular for its novelty and convenience, the voices of criticism from environmental groups cannot be ignored. We look forward to the development of eco-friendly meal kits in the future.
Kim Tae-eun (ST Reporter)