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Package wrapped in brown paper with bundle on tag.

We need more “food bundles”.

I get overwhelmed when grocery shopping. There are so many options and choices I get overloaded with details like flavor choices, quantities, is it healthy? Will it go to waste? The list of decisions is endless.

I recently had a stomach bug and stayed home a few days. We didn’t have any of the basics, Seven Up, Saltines, chicken broth to fight this illness. I sent a family member to the store then realized after the trip was made how much I had forgotten to put on the list. It wasn’t detailed enough, because I didn’t feel good when I made the list and they were in a hurry.

I would have given my right arm for a grocery store who offered a “Care Package” delivered to my home. I’m talking about an order online “Care Package” that shows a list of popular items and remedies when you’re sick. It would have been nice if the package were a type of “Pick 5 for $19.99” deal where you can choose five items out of 20 for example. However, the customer should also have the option to add an item to the list and pay extra, like a box of Tylenol Flu medicine. What would really be great is if that type of Tylenol later got added to the list for others to consider in the future.

I like the idea of packages to choose from for how you feel or what you have planned in life. Sure, most stores have Graduation, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter packages, but I’m thinking more everyday stuff. Maybe an “I just want to watch a movie then go to bed package,” that includes: Frozen Pizza, beer, 2 liter of Coke, and a small personal sized ice cream. Or how about a “My in-laws are coming for dinner,” package with salad, cheese and crackers, some choice of seafood and green beans? Watching sports on TV has so many opportunities for package deals! Maybe wings, beer, pretzels and candy? A store could go so far as to call it the “KU vs. K-State Snack Package”, or “The Summer Olympic spread”. If you make salads, rename it “The 100 Meter Sprint Salad”. The possibilities are endless.

The package name should speak to the customer and have good timing. Include items with a smattering of basic groups like: Sweet and Salty, Meat-Starch-Veggies.

Here are some more package ideas:

  • “Snow Kit” includes soup, hot chocolate, crackers and sidewalk salt.
  • “Just came home from the gym” with salad, chicken breast, water, aspirin and epsom salt.
  • “Dinner Date” with steak, salad, potatoes for an experienced cook, pasta for beginners and flowers.
  • “School Semester Finals” with chips, sandwiches from the deli, and caffeinated drinks.
  • “Mixed Drinks on the Patio” assorted cut fruit and fruit dip, bag of ice, margarita and pina colata drink mixes, margarita salt, straws, little paper umbrellas, plastic cups, whole lemons and limes.
  • “Going to the park” with potato salad, baked beans, bug spray, suntan lotion, slab of ribs from the deli, grapes, Capri Sun drinks, bottled water, charcoal, and lighter fluid and a bag of ice.
  • “Shopping all day and don’t want to cook now” with Salad, French bread, cooked lasagna and pie from the bakery.
  • “Need to have a serious talk at dinner” Pot Roast ingredients veggies pre-sliced, just dump in crockpot (so the house later smells good and everyone will want to stay home for dinner), tea, jello salad, ice cream strawberries and cake.
  • “Cleansing Package” with green tea, baked chicken breast, microwave rice in a bag, yogurt and tangerines.
  • “Smoothie Package” with a few bananas, couple of oranges, plain yogurt, frozen fruit packages, honey, ginger, bag of ice, and almond milk.

I found an example of a dinner package called “Little Big Meal” from The Fresh Market. It seems like they are trying to compete with companies like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh where pre-measured ingredients and a recipe are sent to your home. Also, I found a phone app, DinnerCall where prepared meals from Grocery Store deli’s like Baesler’s (look up area code 47803) are listed and available to order.

A nice feature I noticed on DinnerCall is each item is categorized as: Ready to serve cold, Pre-cooked needs reheating, and Not pre-cooked light cooking needed. Both of these services are a good option for an anxious grocery shopper like me, but I think these ideas can be taken further with more options for events a little more ordinary and true to life.

Why do I work at AWG? “It’s hard to find a native Kansan who doesn’t have family living in a small town community... and I am no exception. My family tree is full of farmers who have helped put food on our tables for over 100 years. So when I hear of a small town’s only grocery store closing down it hits home. Even though I now live in a big city, I like to know through my work I can help keep small independent grocery stores stay open for future generations to enjoy.” -Sharlyn