Kowalski’s Markets, Woodbury, Minn., and Local Crate, a St. Paul, Minn.-based meal kit delivery service, partnered to create what is said to be a first-of-its-kind retail meal kit program in Kowalski’s 11 Twin Cities Markets.
Instead of the typical single-tier program offered by other grocers, Kowalski’s introduced a new category of kits.
“The introduction of Local Crate to our markets allows us to offer more variety to customers looking to escape their dinner rut,” says Rachael Perron, culinary and branding director for Kowalski’s.
Kowalski’s existing program, Dinner Pre-Paired, offers shoppers exclusive recipes for regional customer and family favorite meals made with naturally raised proteins, Kowalski’s Signature products and local foods. These kits feature a main dish paired with a chef-selected side dish or accompaniment.
“They’re meant to be simple, but still offer enough hands-on to give time-starved home cooks a sense of accomplishment and a boost of kitchen confidence, all in about 30 minutes,” says Perron.
Adding Local Crate kits to the mix brings some culinary experiences to the table, with a seasonal menu that rotates every 6 weeks, with up to six different meal options offered every day.
“Their knowledge in the meal kit arena was very valuable to us,” says Perron. “We were able to leverage their team’s experience in things like packaging and production while sustaining the Dinner Pre-Paired brand identity and the overall integrity of our program. It’s been an extremely cooperative and exciting partnership for us. Local Crate is a local-first company that was already working with many of the same top-quality products we sell in store and offer in our own kits, such as Isabel Street Heat and Gerber’s Amish Farms Chicken. From the start it was kind of obvious we belonged together.”
“A hallmark of local-first is community, and the Kowalski’s community inspires delicious recipes and ingredients from local growers and makers,” says Frank Jackman, co-founder and CEO of Local Crate. “While national meal kit companies continue to struggle to address regional taste preferences, shelf life and food waste, it is through partnerships with forward-thinking, community-minded grocers that sustainable (and delicious) solutions are created.”
Meal kits include:
Baked Penne Alfredo with Chicken & Broccoli. This family favorite recipe features Gerber’s Amish Farm Chicken and Kowalski’s Signature Fresh Alfredo Sauce with fresh broccoli. Owned and operated by the Gerber Poultry, Kidron, Ohio, Gerber's all-natural chickens are never given growth stimulants or antibiotics, and are fed a 100% vegetarian diet and raised cage-free by family farmers.
Pork Carnitas Tacos with Pico de Gallo & Chipotle Sour Cream. These food truck-inspired street tacos are made with Kowalski’s Signature Smokehouse Pulled Pork and feature chipotle hot sauce from Isabel Street Heat, St. Paul, Minn. The all-natural pork is raised by Premium Iowa Pork, which is wholly owned by Lynch Livestock, Hospers, Iowa, and smoked at the Kowalski’s smokehouse in Shoreview, Minn.
Beef Marsala & Scalloped Potatoes with Kale Salad. This 1-skillet meal features Kowalski’s Signature Italian Vinaigrette on a zesty baby kale salad with a warm meat-and-potatoes casserole made with naturally raised, grass-fed ground beef cooked with Marsala wine and topped with tender scalloped potatoes and mozzarella. The grass-fed beef comes from sustainable family farmers.
One-Pot Dijon Roasted Chicken with Carrots & Potatoes. This 1-pot dinner boasts tender roasted chicken leg quarters with potatoes and carrots. Au jus is a traditional French technique that refers to the concentration of flavors released by meats and vegetables while cooking. This forms a lemony, Dijon mustard pan sauce meant to be served with the dish.
Red Curry Coconut Chickpea Bowls with Kale & Jasmine Rice. This hearty vegan dish is made with curried chickpeas, tender sweet potatoes cooked with a sweet brown sugar and ras al hanout blend, and finished with fresh wilted kale and coconut cream, served over fluffed jasmine rice.
Beef Pot Roast with Roasted Vegetables & Rosemary Jus by Chef Gavin Kaysen. Chef Gavin Kaysen, owner of Spoon & Stable, Minneapolis, and Bellecour, Wayzata, Minn., developed this dish, which is inspired by Kaysen's grandmother Dorothy. It features top blade steak cooked slowly in the oven with root vegetables, red wine and rosemary until rich and tender.
These meals are available in Kowalski’s store for a suggested retail price of $8.50-14 per person.