closed paper bag of food with

The continuing uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for many food businesses, especially those who relied on face-to-face customers, such as restaurants, cafes and market sellers. As a result, many have had to pivot in new directions to maintain business, or else face closure. Food parcels are another new way for food businesses to share their products while providing a valuable service to people during the ongoing pandemic.

Here, we look at what you can include in a food parcel, who the target customers are, and why the market is ripe for your food business.

Another Kind Of Food Delivery

cyclist with food delivery backpack cycling through city

One the first questions you’ll be asking when it comes to diversifying your food business is: Is there a market for this? Food parcels, or food packages, could be considered an extension of food delivery and can be prepared the same way – being assembled in your commercial or food delivery kitchen and delivered by courier to your customers’ door.

Interest in food delivery spiked during lockdown and has maintained an elevated popularity since then. But getting hot food delivered to your door is costly and not very efficient as it will only cover that meal, perhaps another with leftovers. For those looking for a treat, food delivery is a great choice. But what about all those people who want to prepare something for themselves, but don’t want the hassle of going to the supermarket, or perhaps can’t get there because they are in isolation or are vulnerable and need to shield themselves. A food package containing essentials that can be mixed and matched into a number of snacks and meals would be perfect.

The Food Parcel Market Is Already Being Tapped Into

Recently food parcels have become a new avenue for supermarket chain Morrisons. With students returning to universities, there has been a (not unexpected) rise in cases. Students at a number of universities in the UK are now struggling to get quality supplies due to being suddenly put into isolation. As a result, we’ve seen a new Doorstep Delivery service launched with Morrisons to provide food boxes to lockdown students.

Food Package Customers

It isn’t only students who could benefit from these food parcels, though they could certainly be a lucrative market. If you think of them as food care packages, then they could be both something that people buy for themselves and something that friends or relatives buy for people they care about – particularly those in isolation for a long time.

Elderly relatives who are in need of shielding could be a significant market for food packages. As are people who live alone. With many of us unable to travel or meet up with others safely, these food packages can be a lifeline for connection and to show that you care.

They can also be practical. When there are spikes in lockdowns, which can happen very suddenly, slots for big supermarket deliveries get snapped up fast. For those waiting on an order, getting a smaller food parcel with a number of food essentials, along with a few treats, could help ease any stress.

Types Of Food Delivery Packages

two paper bags of food, including apples, bananas, bagels, cabbage and bread

When it comes to what to include in your food packages, the options are limitless. Though, it does make sense to tie them to whatever products your food business specialises in and sells, then rounding out the food parcel with versatile essentials.

Basics Food Boxes (With Dietary Restriction Options)

The first type of food parcel we’d recommend is a Basics Box. In this box you’ll be including everyday ingredients, such as eggs, milk, cheese, bread, butter, maybe even pasta, rice and sauces, alongside fruits and vegetables. It should be enough to make a few different meals, be it sandwiches, salads, pastas or the like.

If your food business makes jams or special sauces, then you can include the essentials that pair well with them in your care package. It is also worth considering a few versions of this food parcel that will suit vegans and vegetarians, swapping cow milk for oat milk, butter for vegan butter, and so on.

Student Food Boxes

Students eat a lot and often have the simplest meals. Sticking to ingredients for bulky meals like curry, chilli and pasta is a good bet for a successful student box, along with a few breakfast type basics.

If you’re a pasta sauce food business, maybe include a few of your jars with a variety of pasta shapes. Maybe even some bread, butter and garlic so they can make their own garlic bread. A little home cooking is therapeutic, even if they don’t want to make the whole meal. Alternatively, if your food business makes sweets, chocolate or baked goods, then you can focus on a ready supply of breakfast foods, midday snacks and treats with your basics.

Best Of Your Brand Food Boxes

Why not make the most of pivoting into food parcels by creating a box that showcases your brand. These might not be the regular box that someone gets every week or twice a month, it could be a once a month bonus. Focus on your most popular products, along with the companion ingredients. If you make cheese, include crackers and chutney. If you make gourmet scotch eggs and pork pies, include the ingredients for some salads.

Birthday Food Boxes

The pandemic looks likely to continue for a while and with families and friends not able to get together for special occasions, some people might want to send those closest to them a special food parcel for their birthday. This could include a cake and perhaps prosecco or a celebratory drink, alongside the ingredients to make a birthday meal, like steak, green beans and fries – made all the better if your food business makes delicious steak sauces.

This is a good opportunity to include ingredients that make meals that suit your best products. You can still include the essentials but make thema bit fancier, like a sourdough loaf, goat’s cheese, or a selection of pastries. All the things that say: it’s your special day!

Winter Holiday / Christmas Food Boxes

For the holidays, crafting a seasonal food parcel is a fantastic idea as this is when people are most likely to treat themselves and others. Your holiday food package could include seasonal spreads, pate, chocolates, cranberry sauce and the like, with turkey and mixed root vegetables alongside bread and milk. It’s the perfect way of sending a seasonal greeting.

How Foodstars Can Help

We’ve set up numerous food delivery and commercial kitchens across the UK, with new sites opening up throughout the year. We’ve chosen prime locations near universities (both campuses and halls of residence) and popular residential areas. This makes them the perfect local delivery locations for your food business.

You can rent a kitchen, extend your new food business or establish a new location, and be ready to start assembling your food parcels before you know it. Contact us to find out more.

Related insights

View all insights
Foodstars Insights