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Meal-kit delivery service hopes students will buy into option for healthy food

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If college students find themselves unprepared to eat healthy now that they’re living on their own, meal-kit company Chef’d wants to solve that problem by taking the shopping out of their schedule.

Chef’d is partnering with Spoon University, a food and drink website that caters to college-age students, by delivering “fresh, high-quality” meal kits to colleges across the U.S., including Ohio State. Spoon University tailors pages on its site to different cities and universities, including OSU.

The weekly meal kits contain a mix of meals, beverages, fruit and snack items, said Robert Jones, vice president of business development at Chef’d. The meals range from 20 minutes to one hour of preparation time for students who have a kitchen, while smaller-portioned “Grab+Go” items require only 15 minutes or less of preparation time. Jones said Chef’d hopes to give students flexibility.

“Customers can order the meal plan whenever they want, they can skip or switch up their food selections on a weekly basis,” Jones said in an email. “The meal plan can be scheduled for delivery any day of the week, so students can choose what works best for their busy schedules.”

The meal kits are $99 per week, but Jones said he thinks the product will find a niche, especially when students compare it to on-campus options.

We … curate an assortment of snacks and beverages that are hard to find at a dining hall,” he said. “These meals are carefully tested to fit a student’s lifestyle.”

The meal kits were originally designed for students living off campus in their first apartment or house and who also aren’t familiar with cooking, Jones said. He added that students both on and off campus could benefit, however.

Additionally, Chef’d and Spoon University plan to continually receive input from students to refine the meal-kit contents to meet their needs.

According to a study conducted by Spoon University, 55 percent of surveyed college students blame time as a barrier to healthy eating. Isabel Brandl, the editorial director of the OSU Spoon University chapter and a second-year in communication said the meal kits are designed with that in mind.

“The Chef’d meal kit is great for students, because most of us are clueless when it comes to cooking,” she said. “Anyone can make a meal without fail.”

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