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Forbes reports that the downward spiral of the economy seems to be having an impact on yet another element of the food business – the meal-assembly business typified by companies such as Dream Dinners, which offer consumers the ability to come in and assemble a week's worth of meals that can be refrigerated or frozen.

There are more than 1,200 such locations around the country, and Dream Dinners accounts for about 208 of them. "But with food prices soaring, angry franchisees snapping and its financials sagging, the company--and much of the meal-assembly industry--is feeling like it's on the chopping block," Forbes writes. There seem to be several issues at work here – the company franchised sooner than it should have, over-promised franchisees about what they could expect, and per-unit profitability has proven to be elusive.
KC's View:
It is interesting that the meal assembly business seems to have had such a relatively short shelf life. Every once in a while, someone not in the food business who sees one of these things will tell me that they've just seen this remarkable new concept, and how great it is, and how this could be the future of the food business. And I have to chuckle, because they aren’t that new and, quite frankly, it doesn’t seem very likely that they are the future of the food business.

But there does seem to be something about these things that capture people's imaginations…though not for very long.