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Brief Published: 8 Jan 2021

Eat Offbeat’s Culturally Inclusive Ready Meals

Eat Offbeat

Meet Eat Offbeat, a meal box service from the NYC catering company that highlights recipes from refugees. Launched in March 2020 in response to the pandemic, the brand’s global ready meals present a culturally inclusive twist on the often repetitive meal box format, which could just help meal kits succeed post-pandemic.

While Eat Offbeat focused on corporate catering pre-pandemic, since mid-March, it’s been delivering meal boxes of single-serve portions of its most popular recipes. Each recipe is prepared by a refugee to the US, many of whom were professional chefs in their home countries. 

Shoppers can choose from classic and vegan versions, as well as limited-edition country spotlight boxes. A recent Flavours of Cambodia selection offered dishes such as ban chao, a turmeric rice crepe served with marinated mushrooms; and num ansom chek, bananas steamed in coconut sticky rice with black beans.

Previous editions spotlighted Filipino and Venezuelan dishes, while the classic boxes provide mains, sides and desserts from countries such as Sri Lanka, Senegal and Syria. While dish selections are currently limited, there are plans to introduce an entirely customisable box in the future, where shoppers would get to pick and choose from a larger range of options. 

It’s about time companies infused a global feel into this space. In 2020, US sales of fresh ready meals grew 100% (Envestnet, 2020), and one in five Americans sampled new cuisines (Instacart, 2020). While industry experts are sceptical that this pandemic success can be sustained, expanding offerings to feature new, diverse global recipes will be a good strategy to maintain consumer interest. And services like Eat Offbeat are perfectly positioned to capture this market of cooking-fatigued, yet adventurous, homebound diners.

For more on food and cultural inclusivity, see Diversifying Food Narratives.