Project Abstract (2017)

Companies like Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and Plated sell “Meal Delivery Kits,” which allow customers to order a package containing the ingredients and recipes for making a “home-cooked” dish. The Meal Delivery Kit industry is expected to expand by $5 billion over the next decade, with some regarding it as the next big innovation in home cooking. This development echoes the immense popularity of TV Dinners (trays with frozen meals simply requiring some stovetop or oven heating before ready, whose popularity grew in tandem with the newly-invented TV sets) within 1950s American households. Both modern-day Meal Delivery Kits and Cold-War era TV Dinners market their products as a time- and effort-saving food preparation alternative for busy working individuals and families. My research project delves deeper into the apparent connection between these two convenience food products, primarily focusing on advertising materials (both print and media). First off, I will utilize a quantitative scale to determine if an advertisement demonstrates an appeal to the concept of work-family conflict. Next, I will undertake a qualitative analysis of each advertisement, describing how different marketing aspects culminate into the overall message. In the end, I hope that my findings will reveal a fundamental similarity between Meal Delivery Kits and TV Dinners, and to determine what this sustained search for convenience means for American culture and society.

"Time for Dinner": Comparing Similarities in Marketing between Modern-day Meal Delivery Kits and Baby Boomer Era TV Dinners