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Dial H for healthy food: How meal subscription services are becoming the next big thing in nutrition

Dial H for healthy food: How meal subscription services are becoming the next big thing in nutrition

Whether you would like to take a break from cooking or are bored of the limited variety being prepared at home, these meal subscription services ensure that you have something nutritious and delicious on your plate, three times a day

These meal subscription services ensure that you have something nutritious and delicious on your plate, three times a day These meal subscription services ensure that you have something nutritious and delicious on your plate, three times a day

If there is one question that irritates 34-year-old Seema Bhatia, a Gurugram-based management consultant, more than anything else in the world, it is her house help asking her every morning, “Aaj khane mein kya banega? (What should I cook for you today?).”

Bhatia, who lives alone in the city and is health conscious, says ruefully, “I like to eat healthy, but I also want variety. My cook’s skills are limited and I don’t have much time to try my hand at fancy cooking. So the answer to her question is generally aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower) or paneer, hardly exciting.” It was to add more variety to her daily diet that Bhatia decided to try out Food Darzee, a healthy meal subscription plan. She initially opted for a one-day trial plan for three meals for Rs 608. “The next day, a nutritionist spoke to me and after understanding my requirements, a meal plan was designed.” The day after, Bhatia received all three meals in the morning, packed in microwave-friendly containers. “I had a cheese omelette, grilled chicken and a teriyaki bowl. Definitely more exciting than what I had been eating,” she laughs. Happy with the experiment, Bhatia signed up for the monthly meal plan.

“It’s been two months and since my aim was to maintain my weight, things are on track. Plus, I really like the variety and the fact that I don’t have to think about what needs to be cooked. Also, the added headache of grocery shopping, etc., has been taken care of,” she says. A monthly meal plan at Food Darzee for non-vegetarians costs Rs 13,800 for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Depending upon your requirements, you can choose anywhere between one to four meals. The menu is divided into vegetarian, non-vegetarian and eggetarian. Meal plans cater to different diets— keto, high-protein-low-carb, vegan and balanced.

Food Darzee delivers in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune. The menu is updated weekly and in case you don’t want to eat a particular dish, you can change your preference on the app. Your personal nutritionist acts like your mentor, follows up on a regular basis, maps your progress and tweaks and tailors your diet to help achieve your health goals.

Meal delivery services are rather popular in western countries and are fast catching up here, too. According to a report by Apollo Research titled, ‘The Exponential Growth in Meal Kit Subscription Market’, the global healthy-meal subscription market was valued at $3.73 billion in 2022 and is expected to touch $13.76 billion by 2032, growing at a CAGR of 14 per cent.

While meal subscriptions are mostly sought after for their calorie specifications, what differentiates them from other traditional options is that the meals are curated and personalised based on your requirements. “They are wholesome, diet-oriented and freshly cooked,” says Bengaluru-based IT professional Nimit Acharya who has been getting food from Eat.Fit for the past few months. Eat.Fit is the meal subscription venture of health and fitness company Cult.Fit. “I have been working out at Cult.Fit, but in order to lose weight I need to also eat healthy,” says Acharya. He has subscribed to Eat.Fit’s Signature Salad package for lunch on weekdays (vegetarian monthly package for Rs 4,342 for 22 days) and gets a fresh salad delivered to his office every afternoon. Each salad comes with nutritional information such as calorie count, protein, carbs, etc., printed on it. For dinner, he has subscribed to the Weight Loss thali package and pays Rs 4,104 for 30 days.

Eat.Fit delivers in 12 cities including Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurugram, Mumbai, Surat and Hyderabad. You can sign up for anything from a Power Breakfast Plan to a Homestyle Dinner or Fruit Snack Plan. You can order an individual meal or subscribe to a monthly package. “It’s like your office dabbawala, just healthier and with more variety,” says Acharya.

There are several healthy meal delivery subscription services, especially in the metros. These cater to individuals as well as families. At Delhi-based Parafit, you select your goal—weight loss, muscle gain, weight maintenance or detox diet and then subscribe to your package. For instance, a three-day trial package for detox, including three meals a day, costs Rs 2,490. These will include dishes such as grilled cottage cheese and quinoa salad, grilled vegetable sandwiches and vegetable stroganoff with rice on day one, followed by yoghurt bowl, hummus with grilled pita, achari soya chaap, etc., on day two. In case you are confused about your health goals, you can speak to a nutritionist and have a customised plan for you. The USP lies in the over 250 dishes on their menu, so that you get to eat enough variety.

Then there are lesser-known brands such as Blufit and Nutri 91 that specifically cater to those keen on a keto diet. You can start with a three-day trial and if you are satisfied, you can subscribe to it monthly. The menu is a mix of Indian, Continental, Mexican and Chinese, with over 500 recipes in their database. It’s perfect if you would like to stick to a Keto diet but crave variety. One of the pioneers in this field is HealthifyMe, which likes to consider itself a connected fitness ecosystem that helps you achieve your health goals faster and more consistently. So, besides a healthy meal subscription, you get personalised coaching for weight loss, and a metabolic dashboard with 80-plus key parameters that help you stay healthy and identify any underlying medical conditions.

Eating healthy is not difficult. All you have to do is pick up the phone. So what’s your excuse now?



Published on: Aug 11, 2023, 1:49 PM IST
Posted by: Arnav Das Sharma, Aug 11, 2023, 1:44 PM IST