This year’s holiday season is proving to be far from normal as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. Families would typically look forward to traveling to reunite and share a big meal with plenty of company — in 2020, however, Americans can expect less travel, smaller gatherings and contactless shopping when it comes to holiday meal planning. Given this unusual holiday season, more Americans may want to consider ordering their holiday meals via food delivery services.
A recent survey shed light on current food spending habits with 63% of Americans revealing that they are using a food delivery service at least once a week. Generation X (ages 40 to 54) is using food delivery services the most, with 86% spending on deliveries at least once a week.
Subscribing to food delivery services has several perks: convenience delivered to your doorstep, the ability to customize your meal to make it more exciting and a reduction of waste with meals that are pre-portioned.
Plus, more credit card issuers are offering rewards programs tailored to food spending, which can help offset those costs. Using rewards credit cards can help shoppers earn points or cash back for each purchase — and with food delivery service spending on the rise, these rewards maximize each dollar that’s spent.
To uncover more benefits of food delivery service and insight on this unusual holiday meal season, LendingTree turned to leading food delivery providers to discuss some unexpected benefits of using a food delivery service:
Single-serve holiday meals
Spending the holidays solo this year? Freshly, which provides prepared meals made with fresh ingredients, is offering a single-serve holiday dinner option. Recognizing that many families and friends plan to celebrate together virtually, Freshly is making it easy for people to enjoy homemade meals without the work or waste: “Opting for single-serve meals can help with portion control to balance heavier holiday meals,” according to a Freshly spokesperson.
Reducing stress levels
If you want to take the stress out of holiday meal preparation, using meal delivery can help, said Dana Murrell, principal chef at HelloFresh.
“Stress levels are even higher this year as home cooks attempt to plan a delicious feast amid a pandemic, so having a step-by-step game plan and avoiding the anxiety of grocery shopping is extra important this holiday season,” she said. HelloFresh provides meals ready to cook with all the necessary ingredients delivered to your door.
Holiday meal preparation can take a significant amount of time, from shopping for the ingredients to cooking. A service like Home Chef focuses on several time-saving tactics for home chefs.
“Those who want to save time by skipping in-person shopping can have a holiday meal (complete with homemade sides) delivered from homechef.com, and customers who want to save time by skipping the meal prep can order their meals for pickup at over 2,000 Kroger family grocery stores,” said Rich DeNardis, Home Chef’s chief revenue officer. The time saved on meal prep can go towards spending more quality time with family and friends.
Balanced, healthy eating for kids
While the holiday season is a time to indulge, having a balance of healthy meals is still important, especially for children. To help achieve that balance, Nurture Life focuses on providing nutritional meals that are kid-approved.
“Holidays are an easy time for young kids to stray away from healthy eating habits, so Nurture Life offers a variety of meals that are kid-friendly, delicious, but most importantly full of nutritional value, that are easy to serve to your kids at the holiday dinner table,” said Jennifer Chow, co-founder of Nurture Life.
Supporting local restaurants from your home
Supporting local businesses, especially restaurants, can help the community as the pandemic continues. With holiday gatherings already being downsized, ordering a meal from a local restaurant is an easy way to support local businesses and give back to the community. Online order delivery service EatStreet, which connects people to their favorite restaurants, noted ways people can support their community and its food businesses this holiday season.
“One thing we find people like to do is order sides from their favorite restaurants and then make the main dish themselves,” said Matt Howard, co-founder and CEO of EatStreet. “If we can continue to order food and support our local communities, we all can play a role in helping restaurants weather the pandemic as best they can.”
Trying something new
The ease of food delivery services can open the door for people to discover new food options or restaurants — and that may inspire a new holiday tradition. Providing a convenient way to try new restaurants, Chowbus, a food delivery platform for authentic Asian food, focuses on bundle options.
“Chowbus has a bundling service to let people order from multiple different restaurants without extra fees,” said Chowbus marketing director Gigi Zhang. “Aside from being an easy and safe option, it’s a great way to discover new and delicious foods.”
Nourishment while cooking
Hosts often spend so much time preparing the food for their guests that they forget to feed themselves properly. Soylent, a brand of meal replacement products, focuses on providing shakes for energy and nutrition during holiday meal preparation.
“When folks opt to have Soylent delivered directly to their doors, everyone can have an easy and healthy shake on hand that can keep you energized and satisfied while cooking,” according to a Soylent spokesperson. “So, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor and get the daily essential nutrients you need.”