According to researchers at Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, Canadians flocked to prepared meal services at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales across the country hit $1.6 million in the first six months. Prepped meals cost more, on average about $10.50 per person per meal, but they can also save a lot of time. However, over time, as COVID restrictions eased, people moved away from the more convenient option. And while many of these meal preppers have been forced to raise their prices even higher because of inflation, a Winnipeg meal prep company that’s not even a year old is holding the line on its prices and the customer base is actually growing as a result. Vitality Meal Prep cofounder Riley Duma says it’s been tough but so far they’ve been able to cut costs in other areas of their business. So if you’re tired of shopping, preparing, cooking and cleaning, you might want to consider Vitality’s premium meals which are fully cooked and ready to go. Riley also says the meals are made healthy but tasty. You can find them on Instagram (@vitalityprep) or online at VitalityMealPrep.com.
PIZZA WEEK WINNERS
Congratulations to this year’s winners of La Pizza Week. Shorty’s Pizza won Judge’s Choice in Winnipeg but Pasquale’s Italian Restaurant and Tommy’s Pizzeria finished in the Top 5 for all of Canada. My pal Joe Loschiavo at Pasquale’s and his Mama Sara Primavera pizza, in honor of his late mom, was also named the Best In The West by event sponsor Saputo.
FARMERS’ MARKET OPENS
If high food prices have got you down, you might want to try buying directly from local producers at the St. Norbert Farmers’ Market which kicked off its 34th summer season this weekend. It’s now open on Saturdays from 8 am to 2 pm And then starting June 15th, it’ll also operate on Wednesdays from 3 to 7 pm Executive director Marilyn Firth who’s retiring after 14 years at the job says it’s been a difficult two years during COVID and she hopes everyone will come out and help the market and its vendors rebuild.
CAKE-MAKERS CASTING CALL
The search is on for cake-makers to star in a reality food show. Boat Rocker and Proper Television are looking for Manitobans and other Canadians to “produce incredibly Instagram-able creations” for a new original competition series for a major TV network. Selected bakers will get the opportunity to show off their cakes to professional judges at local venues across the country. In the end, someone will be crowned Canada’s best cake-maker and win a cash prize. Applications are now being accepted online at CrossCountryCakeOff.ca.
GUEST APPRECIATION DAYS
Mary Brown’s Chicken in Manitoba will celebrate another year of great support from their customers next weekend. On Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29, you’ll be able to buy two pieces of signature chicken with hand cut taters for just $4.99 at all 14 locations in the province. And if you’re traveling to Toronto for a Blue Jays game this summer, be sure to check out the Mary Brown’s at Rogers Centre.
50 YEARS OF BIG MACS
A man in Wisconsin who received a Guinness World Record for most Big Macs eaten in a lifetime is marking another milestone. Don Gorske just celebrated 50 years of eating a Big Mac almost every day. His first Big Mac by him was consumed on May 17, 1974. Gorske says he often eats two Big Macs a day and has only missed eight days in five decades. He’s tried burgers from different fast food restaurants but as far as he’s concerned, nothing is as good as the Big Mac at McDonald’s. And you know what, he might be right…
PAPER KETCHUP BOTTLE
Heinz is partnering with Pulpex to create a ketchup bottle made from paper. The brand says the wood pulp container won’t affect the taste or longevity of the condiment. The new bottle will be made available alongside existing plastic and glass bottles. Heinz promises to make all its packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.
The average person eats four salads a week. That’s according to a new survey of 2,000 adults. Iceberg lettuce is the favorite base for a salad at 31%. 23% pick kale. 14% use their salad dressing as dip instead.
– Hal has written columns for years. He’s also the host of Connecting Winnipeg weekday mornings from 10 to noon on 680 CJOB. You can email him at Hal@HalAnderson.ca.