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UNFI unveils 2 new meal solutions to compete with restaurants

New fresh and frozen entrees and sides from Cook•Able and Cadence Kitchen reduce labor demand at retailers for fast, high-quality entrees and sides, UNFI said Wednesday.
Photograph: Shutterstock

With the at-home dining trend sticking, UNFI has created two new meal solutions to help retailers offer quick, chef-quality meals for shoppers looking to skip a restaurant visit.

The restaurant-quality meals are designed to reduce in-store labor and the time required to create similar products in-store, grocery wholesaler UNFI said Wednesday.

Available nationwide to the more than 30,000 customer locations UNFI services, the new on-trend meal solutions, a fresh meal kit from Cook•Able and flash-frozen meals from Cadence Kitchen, allow UNFI to quickly deliver additional high-quality product choices as consumers are increasingly relying on their local retailer for meal options.

“With consumers continuing to favor eating at home versus away, retailers are looking to offer delicious and effortless products to time-challenged consumers that replicate the restaurant experience at budget friendly pricing,” said Jody Barrick, VP of bakery/deli at UNFI, in a statement. “These chef-inspired offerings from Cook•Able and Cadence Kitchen give retailers a fast, delicious and reasonably priced turnkey experience, affording their teams additional time to focus on serving their customers.”

The fresh meal solutions feature meal kits from Cook•Able, which feature quick and convenient recipes with pre-portioned ingredients that serve 2-4 individuals and are ready in 20-25 minutes, UNFI said. Shelf stable for 14 days and available at a suggested retail price of $12.99 to $19.99, the meal kits' flavors include: chipotle chicken tacos, creamy bacon & parmesan pasta with broccoli, Mediterranean chicken with olives, feta & rice, and pan-seared orange chicken with broccoli, to name a few.

UNFI's Cadence Kitchen meals go from flash-frozen to ready-to-eat in 15 minutes or less, the company said. The following frozen entrees, which include American beef stew, chicken and andouille sausage jambalaya, and prime rib stroganoff, are a few of the listed flavors. Included side choices—four cheese mac and cheese, Mexican style street corn, and the vegan Latin bowl—are available at a suggested retail price of $5.99 to $9.99, UNFI said.

Looking to implement new processes and technologies to speed delivery times, provide fresher produce to its customers and expand its private-branded organic produce under its Wild Harvest label are a few of the new initiatives UNFI recently revealed. “We know quality is the No. 1 driver for produce purchases, which is why we are fanatical about freshness at UNFI Produce,” said Dorn Wenninger, SVP of produce at UNFI, in a statement last month.

UNFI, which serves about 30,000 independent grocers, is a Providence, Rhode Island-based wholesaler.



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