Among the many changes that occurred in 2020, a surge in food delivery was one of the major developments as restaurants restricted dining facilities or closed outright and people sheltered in place and dined at home much more often than usual. Even if that begins to shift with increased rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines in 2021, this expansion in food/meal delivery is expected to continue. One recent entrant to the market, Connecticut-based The Food Crate quadrupled its expected sales since its launch in the summer, sold out its complete holiday meals for Thanksgiving (turkey based), Christmas (ham based) and Hanukkah (brisket plus matzoh ball soup and rugelach) and expanded its offerings for the coming year.
“When we came up with this idea in the spring as a way to offset losses from the lack of events and restaurant closures, we never thought the business would take off as it has,” said Jordan Laudano, a veteran specialty and USDA high-grade food wholesaler and founder of the brand. “But the pandemic has brought a reckoning to the food industry and sparked innovation. The meal delivery service vertical has been transformational and it’s clear to us that people still want event-quality food — just at home.”
The service, available for shipping nationwide, is centered, as the name suggests, around the crates with items curated and dishes created after months of recipe testing by Laudano and his chef Jeff Caputo. Main dish crates include the customizable Large Atlantic Steampot with clams, shrimp, snow crab, mussels, gold potatoes, smoked sausage and corn plus the pot (extras such as lobster tails and king crab can be added) and the Large Smoked BBQ Crate with smoked Angus beef brisket, hickory smoked pulled pork, smoked St. Louis ribs, smoked chicken quarters, smoked jalapeno cheddar sausage, gluten free macaroni and cheese, cornbread, pickles and rolls; cooking directions to finish them are included. Other selections are collections of meat including Angus New York strip steaks and a rack of Hawaiian ribs, seafood such as Ahi tuna, crab cakes and clam chowder and one centered around meatballs. Individual choices are also available including grilled Thai shrimp skewers, grilled Spanish octopus, sous vide short rib and lamb shank, brisket chili, any of the meats in the BBQ crate, hors d’oeuvres such as white truffle croquettes and desserts such as chocolate swirl mini cheesecakes.
Apart from these ready to heat/grill or just serve items, the service also expanded into the other part of food delivery service that flourished during the pandemic: grocery delivery, specifically artisan ingredients for preparing meals from scratch at home. Laudano’s connections to local producers, particularly as a second generation food industry veteran whose parents had a specialty food company, enabled him to assemble a roster of top quality ingredients to offer a one stop shop of both prepared meals and raw ingredients. Among the choices for at home cooks: sushi grade King salmon filets, 20 ounce Kansas City ribeyes, striped lobster ravioli and an artisan cheese selection.
Even though eating at home can’t entirely recreate the sensation of attending a special event or experiencing a long dinner at a favorite restaurant, access to restaurant quality food can be a comfort at a difficult time. “I feel very grateful that I’m helping customers recreate essential experiences at home, and that The Food Crate can add to a sense of normalcy,” explains Laudano. “Also to relieve stress during this time.”
Published at Thu, 31 Dec 2020 19:36:35 +0000