You don’t have to make your kids a lunch for school anymore
Making lunch is eating at parents.
Multiple surveys show that parents are losing it over making school lunches. Indeed, the most recent survey on the topic showed that a shocking 85% say that prepping and packing lunch stresses them out — and that dealing with lunch was the most stressful part of the back-to-school season.
Some of this may be driven by allergies. The number of children with peanut allergies has tripled since 1997 and plenty of other allergies like soy and gluten are also rising in children. That can make parents of allergy sufferers stress over lunch, as well as other parents who worry about packing their kids something the child with allergies might get sick from.
But it’s likely that time and the fear of being judged are even bigger factors. Indeed, one in three parents told Gallup that they did not have enough time yesterday to get all the things they needed to get finish done. And parents clearly worry about getting judged for the lunches they pack. One mom blogger posted a photo of a seemingly healthy lunch she packed her kids — a sandwich, fruit and veggies — and got a nasty comment telling her “I hope those berries and veggies are organic, otherwise you are serving your kid a pesticide-filled meal”. And pity the parent who packs whole grapes or cherries, or a non-cut up hot dog, in a toddler’s lunch bag.
So time-crunched, judgement-avoidant parents are throwing money at the problem, literally. Yumble — which offers vegetarian, gluten- and dairy-free options — delivers school lunches to your doorstep in many East Coast cities for about $7-$8 per meal. Options include turkey kale balls, quinoa pizza cups and pulled beef sliders.
Another East Coast option is Smart Lunches, which delivers $4-$8 lunches to schools and daycares. CEO David Morris tells Moneyish that his program allows parents to “customize a lunch for their child that will meet their nutritional, allergy, and dietary needs (e.g., vegetarian, gluten free, egg or soy allergies, etc.),” adding that there’s always a big demand for things like baked chicken nuggets and organic pasta marinara. New menu items include nut-free pad thai and cauliflower tikka masala.
Over on the west coast, Organic Kids LA will deliver certified organic items like herb butter salmon or or a Cali Goddess salad to your child’s school for between $6-$8 per meal. For another $4, you can get them a cold-pressed juice, $2.50 for a smoothie or $1.25 for a water.
Even those who can’t afford such extravagant sums are still forking over money for more convenient, balanced lunches. One big example: Lunchables, the prepackaged lunches that typically come with an entree, side and sometimes are drink and were popular in the ‘90s are making huge comeback, says Dewey Warner, a research analyst at Euromonitor. The company saw sales
growth jump 14% in 2015 and is “still experiencing positive growth and expanding as millennials (many of them on-the-go parents) help to fuel the brand’s recent comeback,” he adds.
And the company just launched organic Lunchables in August, which, he adds, “seems poised to help continue this growth trend as consumers increasingly seek to purchase products with organic, natural qualities that they view as being more beneficial to their health.” They now offer two organic options — a cheese pizza and a pepperoni pizza made with USDA certified organic ingredients with no artificial preservatives, flavors or colors.
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