Ready meals are here to stay - so, how to get started?
Ready meals are no longer confined to the freezer section, as cheap, easy and simplex meals. Now, ready meals are healthy alternatives, gourmet and catering for specific diets such as vegetarian or low-calorie.
With the current crisis of COVID-19, ready meals are becoming even more popular than ever. A way for businesses in the food industry to continue operation, providing their customers with meals that they love from their favourite go-tos in town.
As a result of the current climate, customers are buying these gourmet ready-meals that they can simply heat-up as needed, which have been made in-house, at their local restaurant or butcher. Many catering companies and restaurants that can no longer provide food to customers in their traditional way have taken to creating ready meals that allow customers to enjoy that restaurant quality’ dinner in the comfort of their own home.
This isn’t just partnering with a food delivery service, it’s providing a meaningful experience for customers to support their local butchers or restaurants, and they can share their home-made meals, using local ingredients, even sharing traditional family recipes.
... create a menu of dishes which showcases some of your best products.
But this opportunity isn’t just confined to the hospitality sector. Almost any company in the food industry can jump on a trend that looks set to juggernaut in the next few months.
So, as a retail butcher, how and why should you attempt this in your own business?
The why is simple. It’s a great way for your business to value-add and showcase your products in a new way. With the current pandemic restrictions, it’s also a great way to show you can understand and meet the most pressing of your customer’s needs. It shows you’re adaptable, and care for your customers, to provide healthy and hearty meals.
So how do you begin offering ready meals? Quite honestly, the process has never been easier.
A great first step these days is to hire a professional chef. With all the restaurants and cafes around that are closed until further notice, there are plenty of great chefs out there looking for a job. And having a professional chef is going to bring an extra level of sophistication and quality to the meals you provide. Plus, it’s a great selling point to customers.
The next step is to create a menu of dishes which showcases some of your best products. If you’re known for your delicious free-range chicken – offer chicken curry. If your mince is a best seller, offer lasagna or spaghetti bolognese.
Finally, consider how to package and present your meals. You will need to put them in packaging that will keep them fresh for a couple of days, while also being something that can be heated. Typically, most ready meals come in a plastic tray covered by lidding film – though this is no hard-and-fast rule.
Choosing the right machine to do the job is imperative to success, there's no point investing time and effort into doing ready meals if the machinery is going to let you down. Determine your expected output, and consider our tray sealer range. Industry leading technology using gas flush to package your meals.
Make sure whatever packaging you use really showcases the delicious food you’re selling, as well as your businesses branding. Ready meals are an amazing way to add value to both your brand and products and your packaging design should reflect that. So, make sure it’s neat, sleek, personalised, and watch those ready meals fly out the door.
In the current climate, it’s imperative that all businesses – no matter your industry – continue to adapt and innovate to allow continual growth. An innovative product for businesses to adopt, and continue to offer to customers long after the COVID-19 crisis.