As the care sector in Europe emerges out of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the UK-based firm said its diverse range offers nutritious food that retains its freshness for 25 years in tins or seven years in pouches for storage.
Many care home food supplies have struggled through the pandemic with inadequate kitchen facilities and patchy supplies from distributors, it said. The National Care Association, which represents more than 600 small and medium-sized care homes in the UK, has reported that some of its members had been unable to stock up adequately.
Fuel Your Preparation told FoodNavigator that it hopes to capitalise on potential demand in the sector with its existing meal range which comes in tins and pouch formats and which includes chicken tikka with rice, pasta bolognese, beef stew, spicy pasta Arrabiata, five bean cassoulet, chocolate mousse and rice pudding. Ingredients and staple items come in tins and include diced chicken and minced beef.
“The care sector is something that we’ve recently been looking at focussing on because we feel like there's an opportunity there,” said Atiyya Tailor, brand manager at Fuel Your Preparation.
“The care sector has been particularly badly hit with the pandemic. Emergencies such as these ultimately affect the elderly and how we look after them but the option of freeze-dried food means you always have stocks of food ready,” she added.
“Whether care homes suffer a power cut or a similar crisis to this pandemic in the future, they can be prepared and in a position to feed their residents with nutritious meals.”
Fuel Your Preparation’s products also come in kit form as ingredients such as green beans, beef mince and white rice. It offers organisations freeze-dried breakfasts, desserts and main meals including vegetarian options depending on needs.
The firm said its freeze-dried foods contain carbohydrates and protein, are easy to prepare by adding water, and come with a shelf life of 25 years in tins or seven years in pouches for storage. Freeze dried ingredients are produced by removing the water from the original product and retaining the nutrition and taste.
Freeze drying is helping meet demand in many quarters
Tailor told us that at present the bulk of the company’s business comes from the direct-to-consumer channel in the UK, Germany and Sweden.
"When it comes to consumers it's very varied in terms of people that are buying,” she said. “You do get a lot of people who are prepping for any kind of emergency. That could be anything from a power cut, bad weather, or being stuck at home… there's a lot of different scenarios that people are buying for.”
The company also supplies to clients in the military, to prisons and to fire and rescue services.
She said the meals’ shelf life and ease of preparation would appeal to older people.
“We've had very good feedback [from the care sector] with the range that's available. We do have very familiar recipes. We've got very recognisable, home recipes that will resonate with that older audience.
“This range has got a smaller serving than our other brands which works quite well with that age group who want that smaller portion size and the range is a lot bigger with a lot more options with which we think would work very well for that market.”