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With recent coverage on MNB of meal providers such as Seattle Sutton and Dream Dinners, now seems like a good time to provide a little background on one of the UK’s most innovative service providers: Rocket.

http:// www.rocketlondon.com

Launched in January 2002, with the financial backing of the Unilever Ventures division of foods, household and personal care products giant Unilever, Rocket provides meal “kits” to time-pressed affluent commuters in the London area. It sells complete meal solutions that provide impressive restaurant-style dinners for consumers that do not have the time or the inclination to decide on a menu, buy the ingredients separately, and prepare them for cooking.

The meal kits are available in three different categories:

“Bags I Cook” – A bag that contains all of the fresh ingredients required to prepare a sophisticated meal using just two pans in under ten minutes. Meals available this week include rump steak with porcini and chestnut mushroom sauce; hake with asparagus and potatoes with a chive and mustard dressing; and blue cheese gnocchi with rocket.

“Easysteam” – A collection of healthy ingredients gather together in microwave-able packaging that provides a meal in under six minutes. Current dishes include Scottish salmon fillet with a cream and white wine sauce with smoked salmon and fresh dill pasta; and chicken with broccoli, baby potatoes and carrots in a fresh thyme and garlic gravy.

“Take it away” – Chinese and Indian dishes that are also ready in under six minutes with microwave cooking.

Also available are a selection of desserts and wines intended to complement the various meal options.

Whilst it is still relatively early days for Rocket, this very urban concept has spread in both popularity and availability over the past two years. The Rocket kiosks can now be found in six busy London railway stations, four branches of drugstore chain Boots, five petrol station c-stores operated by Total and a single Wine Cellar store. Customers can either pre-order their kits online and pick them up on the way home or collect them directly from the sites.

The real genius behind the idea is that it offers the ideal combination of quality, affordability, and genuine convenience. Meals use fresh and healthy ingredients and are wonderfully simple to cook, cost around $18 for two persons and are available in the most convenient locations possible in a single transaction that takes seconds.
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