Is micro-catering coming to an office near you?

From meal kits to restaurant food deliveries, many different opportunities exist that can make mealtime easier. These services allow people with limited time to enjoy simple-to-prepare and tasty meals that fit into their dietary goals.

With the popularity of these programs rising, it’s no surprise that consumers are now seeking the same types of solutions away from home. That has led to an increase in food delivery services that cater to offices. Rather than offering the old stereotypical office catering vision that many people have – with giant tubs of one or two menu items so employees can ladle out their servings – these new micro-catering options offer customized meals for busy professionals.

An office benefit

One of the reasons more offices are offering catering options to staff members is because they consider it a benefit, said Josh Brown of Cater2Me, which provides customized catering to offices in 11 markets.

“Companies often list it as a benefit on their websites for prospective employees -- they’ll mention that they provide daily breakfast or lunch for employees,” Brown said. “But another advantage is the productivity of staff.” After all, if employees can pop into the dining area and get their favorite meals, they won’t spend as much time away from the office looking for breakfast or lunch options, he said.

In addition, having food at the office allows companies to build a culture. “There's a lot to be gained by encouraging employees to sit together and interact and talk,” Brown said.  

Employees also enjoy the many meal options that these types of services provide, because it can help them meet their nutritional goals, said Laureen Asseo, founder and co-CEO of Fresh n’Lean, which offers customized meal plans that the firm delivers to customers’ homes or offices:

“Convenience is key, so anyone who wants to eat well and be healthy with no extra work” enjoys these services, Asseo said.

Plant-based, paleo among rising trends

To meet the needs of a diverse employee population, catering and meal delivery firms are able to provide a variety of personalized options, and they’re can track the trends they see in terms of the orders that are coming in.

“We're seeing a lot of people asking for keto-friendly and vegan meals,” Brown said. “We're very accommodating where every employee can put certain dietary preferences in their profile and when we plan the meal, we make sure there's something for everyone to enjoy.”

Asseo notes that transparency is increasingly important to Fresh n’Lean clients. “People are becoming more educated on ingredients and where the food comes from,” she said, noting that the company receives a lot of questions regarding sourcing. “The animal protein plans have always been popular but I feel like vegan is very much trending upward. Keto, we have the demand for it because it's trending but we are unsure if it will be the next vegan.”

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