This week, Columbus-based restaurant and food products company Bob Evans, which runs 564 restaurants in 18 states announced that it is testing home delivery this holiday season and into 2012. The test menu will offer five frozen choices:
- Homestyle breakfast, including bacon, sausage, hash browns and biscuits, serving between 12 and 15 for $77.95.
- Farm-grill favorites with bratwurst and Italian sausage, serving between 12 and 15 for $95.
- Savory dinner with a 3.5- to 4.5-pound turkey breast, meant for four to eight diners at $95.
- Ham feast with a 8.5- to 9.5-pound spiral-sliced ham for between 12 and 15 at the table for $170.
- Turkey feast with a 10- to 12-pound smoked turkey for 12 to 15 is $170.
If the test menu performs well, the company expects that it could be open to the public in time for Easter 2012. While it is hard to argue with the convenience of direct-delivery service, dietitians and nutrition experts have some concerns about the nutritional quality of the meals.
The pre-packaged meals seem to be very meat heavy which could mean high cholesterol, high sodium, and high saturated fat levels,” said Kati Mora, R.D. “If individuals are purchasing these meal delivery options, it’s important that they incorporate their own healthy sides into each meal. This way they can make sure they are getting a wide variety of nutrients and hopefully keep their meat portions in appropriate proportions at each meal.”
While the ham, turkey and sausage based meals are all likely to be high in protein, they don’t tout any fruit or vegetable components. Incorporating other food groups, especially vegetables, could be one way to improve the nutritional quality of the meals. Consumers who want to incorporate these dishes into a day or on special occasions should be provided with the resources they need to do so.
Mary Hartley, R.D. agrees that the meals are not nutritionally complete. “Food that has been processed is usually not as nutritious as fresher, wholesome food,” Hartley said. “In most cases, I always recommend that people cook a home before bringing in fast food or convenience food.”