The Evolution of Meals on Wheels

The restaurant and grocery industries are starting to be given a run for their money with the emergence of Meals on Wheels, a service that supplies and delivers restaurant quality meals right to your doorstep. It’s a system that is designed to provide food and nutrition to those who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals. While Meals on Wheels is just emerging now as a viable industry, its roots actually go all the way back to World War 2. Read on to learn about the evolution of this delicious industry.

The Original Meals on Wheels  

Meals on Wheels originated in the United Kingdom in the year 1943, during the heavy air raids over Britain known as the Blitz. Because people’s homes had been destroyed they had no way to cook for themselves. The Women’s Volunteer Services for Civil Defense took up the task of providing food for these people by using prams to transport the meals, and keeping them warm using straw bales and old felt hats. Meals were also delivered to WW2 servicemen in the UK.

Meals on Wheels America

Throughout the 1950’s and 60’s, Meals on Wheels steadily grew in places like Australia, USA, and Canada, with small home delivery programs popping up in various cities throughout these countries. In 1974, Meals on Wheels gained a considerable boost when Meals on Wheels America was created; it is still to this day the oldest and largest national organization of its kind and supports more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition organizations across America.

The Industry Today

Today, Meals on Wheels is a rapidly growing industry with plenty of programs in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia. These programs focus on supplying meals, both hot and ready to serve, and cold and ready to microwave, to anyone in need; the main recipients being the elderly. Doing much of the legwork today are volunteers who donate their time to helping those in need get good meals and proper nutrition. The industry is making a positive change in society, as home-delivered meals have been shown to increase nutrition intake significantly and improve the overall quality of life of those who receive them. This boost in quality of life has also led to less need for hospital care.

What the Future Holds

The success of home-delivered meal programs has attracted the attention of some big players in the food industry such as Tyson Foods Inc., Martha Stewart, and the Kroger supermarket chain. The involvement of such big names suggests that Meals on Wheels can go nowhere but forward. As people become more health conscious, meal delivery services adapt and are now offering healthy alternatives to eating out, as well as options that cater to specific diets. Still, there are many that think Meals on Wheels is simply a fad that will eventually fade. However, it is difficult to ignore the benefits of home meal delivery service and all signs currently point to it being here to stay.