The Kroger Co.’s Home Chef brand is now dishing out a family-size meal solution option.
Dubbed the Family Menu, the for-delivery offering is a meal kit plan of turnkey dinner recipes for families. The program provides a weekly rotation of more than 10 meals, each of which serves four people and takes 30 minutes or less to prepare, Chicago-based Home Chef said Tuesday. Per serving, the meals cost $6.99 to $8.99.
“We heard from parents who were craving even more ease at mealtime, so our Family Menu is a direct response to that home cook feedback,” according to Shira Schwarz, vice president of brand marketing at Home Chef. “As a mom of three, I know how challenging it can be to deliver a quick, quality dinner that doesn’t call for short-order cooking, and Home Chef’s Family Menu provides meals that both kids and adults will love.”
Some of the meal kits offered in the Family Plan include the following:
• One-pan chicken cutlets and orzo with tomato, garlic and tzatziki
• One-pan BBQ al pastor chicken tacos with pineapple salsa
• Lasagna-style Bolognese gemelli with spinach and ricotta
• Tex-Mex-style guacamole beef burgers with pico de gallo and pepperjack
• Pulled pork enchiladas with peppers and onions
Customers sign up for the Family Menu plan and begin selecting their meals online at cook.homechef.com/family-menu. Home Chef noted that the recipes span its range of formats, such as classic Meal Kits, Express meals that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, Oven-Ready recipes for less cleanup, and Fast & Fresh meals with little prep and simple cooking in an oven or microwave. In addition, the Family Menu features a variety of larger-format Extras, such as beverages, snacks, sides, salads and desserts, among other items.
“Making mealtime easier for home cooks is one of the main reasons Home Chef exists,” Home Chef CEO Erik Jensen said in a statement. “Our new Family Menu will allow us to deliver on that promise of convenient, quality meals to even more households.”
Home Chef’s Family Menu plan reflects an intersection of food-at-home trends: the consumer desire for eating together as a family and faster meal preparation.
According to FMI-The Food Industry Association’s 2023 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends study, 66% of more than 2,100 shoppers polled said eating together as a family/household was very or extremely important, up from 59% in 2022, 61% in 2021 and 58% in 2020. Meal prep time also has sped up for most consumers, with 27% of respondents reporting it takes 30 minutes or less, compared with 30% in 2022, 15% in 2021 and 18% in 2020. Sixty-nine percent said meal prep takes less than an hour versus 74% in 2022, and 37% in 2021 and 2020.
And when asked how food retailers could simplify meal prep, consumers surveyed cited a larger selection of easy-to-prepare foods (36%), more partially prepared meal options (24%), a better selection of meal kits (23%), more ready-to-eat meals (26%) and more ready-to-eat side dishes (19%).
Home Chef was acquired by Kroger in mid-2018 and has since rolled out its products to more than 2,200 Kroger Co. stores nationwide. In quarterly earnings calls, Kroger executives have cited strong sales for Home Chef since the pandemic, and last fall the brand topped sales of $1 billion.
In early March, Home Chef unveiled plans to open its first production and distribution center on the East Coast, in Baltimore. The company said the 170,000-square-foot facility will accommodate its online meal delivery service and represent its largest production center by volume, generating over 30% of its meal solutions delivered nationwide. Home Chef’s other production and distribution centers are located in Chicago; San Bernardino, California; and Atlanta.