Meals on Wheels is not a new concept over here in the UK. But is it mostly geared towards the elderly and the infirm. Imagine our surprise then, when we heard of a new gourmet organic food delivery service that had taken off in New York, aimed exclusively at toddlers and pre-school children. Targetting busy New York mums and dads, one such company called Brooklyn-based Komi Organics deliver meals which include grilled Arctic char with herbed quinoa, julienned red pepper and cucumber.
So why aren’t these health conscious parents cooking for their little ones themselves? It is thought that this latest fad is filling a niche in the market, where health and lifestyle conscious parents want to give their children the best nutrition and home cooked organic food, but simply do not have the time to do so. And it also frees up precious cooking time, enabling them to spend more quality time with their children.
But these delivery services are no ordinary take outs. You will not find one Happy Meal amongst any of these menus. They are expensive gourmet meals, made from locally sourced produce, organic, prepared by experts and can cater for most dietary requirements. And for $18 a meal, they should be special!
In an article taken from the New York Post, Brooklyn-based Komi Organics charges $180 for delivery of five lunches and five dinners from a menu serving Grilled Artic Char & Herbed Quinoa with Julienned Red Pepper and Cucumber; Peanut Butter Yam Soup & Saffron Basmati Rice with Jicama Slivers; Bean and Cheese Enchiladas with Guacamole & Shredded Salad, Sesame Chicken Fingers with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce, Potato Fennel Soup & Shredded Salad and Lamb Patties, Shitake Stir-fry & Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes. And they have just started to add family sized portions to their menu from this New Year.
Komi Organics founder Nokomis Pfeiffer, 36, says she uses a lot of vegetables, fish and whole grain – ‘the kind of things which are difficult to get little kids to eat,’ she admitted.
‘I feel great when the parents say their kid enjoyed every bite.’
Mother-of-three Nicole Cain, 35, uses Komi Organics regularly and says it is essential that her children ‘eat a diverse range of food and get the right amount of carbs, proteins and vegetables.’
‘My kids are really into trying new things, and their palates are becoming quite sophisticated,’ she said. ‘This really takes the headache out of mealtimes.’
If you think that Komi Organics is a little out of your price range, you might be interested in Junior’s Fresh, another one of New York City’s most well-known toddler-specific takeout brands, who charge $40 for five meals from a menu that features tarragon scented organic chicken breast with sweet potato over candy cane, beet barley risotto and golden raisins.
So are the parents who use these types of services simply lazy mums and dads who cannot be bothered to cook a decent lunch for their own children? Apparently not, as Natasha Gural-Maiello, 41, mother of two-year-old Michael Alexander, told the New York Post’s Jane Ridely. She has five Junior’s Fresh lunches delivered in a special refrigeration pack every Tuesday at 10am and said: ‘It’s important to me to provide my son with healthy, locally sourced food. Since I work from home with only a part-time nanny, it really helps me optimize the time I spend with him.’
Michael Alexander’s favorite dish is the Little League Burger, an organic turkey slider stuffed with barley, kale and raisins on a brioche bun.
His meals are usually dropped off by Michelle Hoffmann, 37, who founded the company and says business has grown 500per cent since she launched in the spring 2011.
Mommy’s Yummies is another New York based gourmet delivery service and here, a supply of six meals costs between $50 and $65, and features items like sweet potato bisque with basil pasta with zucchini.
Meanwhile Petit Organics, a pureed baby-food delivery firm, will join the toddler-takeout trend this spring, adding dishes for children age two and up. Currently three days worth of its allergen-free pureed meals costs $48.
Michelle Marinis, 30, and co-founder of Petit Organics, said: ‘It’s got to the point where we’re all educated on fresh ingredients and how it’s the best way to go [rather than] shelf-stable food with all the additives and chemicals.
‘People are trying to do the right thing with nutrition at every stage of childhood.’
And mother of 15-month-old twins, Rebecca Baseggio, 41, agrees, as she buys $144 worth of baby food from Petit Organics every week, and acknowledges that it is a ‘giant indulgence,’ but one she justifies easily.
‘Other parents spend huge amounts of money on vacations and designer clothes,’ she says. ‘We’d much rather the boys dressed in hand-me-downs and ate wholesome food. We’re convinced it will give them the best possible start in life.’