The just-released meal kit, which is vegan, includes fresh onions, garlic and chili, plus red lentils, tomato paste, coconut milk, broth and an all-important packet of zen’s popular Indian Dal spice blend—a fragrant mix of ginger, coriander, cumin, turmeric and curry powder. The kit also includes fresh cilantro and pickled red onions (for toppings), brown basmati rice and naan bread.
The new meal kit entrée—which serves six—was chosen by Peapod in taste tests for its robust flavor and vegan/vegetarian appeal. It joins two existing zen/Peapod slow cooker meal kits: Chicken Tortilla Soup, which enjoys a 4.7 star customer rating on a scale of five and Carolina Pulled Pork, which holds a 4.3 star rating. Both meal kits remain top sellers in their category.
Meal kits are growing in popularity nationwide. According to a recent Harris Poll, 25% of adult consumers purchased a meal kit in 2016, and 70% continue to buy them. The meal kit category, which is expected to reach $4.65 billion in sales this year, is predicted to grow at an average of 20% a year over the next five years, according to market research firm Packaged Facts.
Slow cooking is also part of a growing trend. According to Euromonitor International, slow cooker sales have nearly doubled in the last 15 years, exceeding $1 billion in 2014.
“Life is busy,” says zen cofounder Meg Barnhart, who with business partner Jane McKay, formed the company in 2012. “One of our goals has always been to make it easier for the home cook to prepare delicious, clean food from scratch.”
The company currently offers 10 spice blends with globally-inspired flavor profiles, including top-selling Smoky BBQ and Coq au Vin. Their newest blend, Sichuan, won a New Product Award in the Specialty Food Association’s 2017 sofiTM Awards competition.
the zen of slow cooking spice packets are also sold à la carte on Peapod, as well at select Whole Foods, on Amazon.com and on the company website, thezenofslowcooking.com.
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