NEW YORK -- FreshDirect, the online grocer based here, has kicked off this year's back-to-school season with a lineup of all-natural lunches and dinners for children.
The new lunches include options such as turkey mozzarella pinwheels, pizza rolls, turkey hot dogs, and peanut butter and jelly on graham crackers, all packaged in shrink-wrapped, two-piece plastic containers designed to fit inside lunch boxes.
Advertised with the tag line "full of the stuff kids love without the stuff parents hate," the lunches are free of hydrogenated oils, preservatives, nitrites and artificial ingredients, and feature antibiotic-free cold cuts or hotdogs, as well as snacks such as organic applesauce, organic baby carrots with ranch dip and organic granola bars.
The company also recently launched a new line of prepared, all-natural children's dinners, which includes options such as antibiotic-free chicken penne, chicken and rice with organic vegetables, and spaghetti and antibiotic-free meatballs. The lunches and meals are priced at $3.99 or $4.99 each.
A statement from FreshDirect explained the logic behind the meals concept, noting that children aren't always ready to eat the same foods that their parents want for dinner, and they also often want to eat a few favorite foods repeatedly.
Given the challenge of preparing separate meals for themselves and their kids, the FreshDirect children's menu offers parents the opportunity to give their kids a balanced, all-natural meal when they're too busy to do both.
A FreshDirect spokeswoman explained that the goal of the kids' lunches was similar, offering busy parents an alternative to commercially made children's lunch products, which often use lots of salt and preservatives to extend shelf life.
Both the lunches and dinners were designed to have 450 or fewer calories, at least one serving of fruits and/or vegetables, and have a refrigerated shelf life of three to five days after delivery.
FreshDirect's prepared foods offer has become increasingly popular during the past three years, as the company has slowly but steadily expanded its grocery delivery service throughout metro-New York.
Fresh-Direct's prepared foods division competes against thousands of localtakeout options, partly by emphasizing gourmet, organic or all-natural attributes, and ingredients that are locally sourced.