Food: What’s avail­able around of­fices is often not nu­tri­tious or healthy enough

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA -

About 60 per­cent of cus­tomers are Sweetie Salad reg­u­lars, and many buy more than 10 times a year, which amounts to more than 2,000 yuan ($300), Yu said.

The com­pany has also launched an on­line shop­ping plat­form to sell what it calls “healthy food”, such as muesli, dried fruits, herbal tea and oat bis­cuits.

Chen Na, an of­fice worker in Bei­jing, said she and many of her friends and col­leagues have tried a va­ri­ety of such ser­vices, in­clud­ing those for gym- go­ers and di­eters.

“I want to re­duce fat and gain mus­cle to im­prove my body shape, and I know healthy eat­ing, es­pe­cially in­take of enough high pro­teins and low calo­ries, re­ally mat­ters for that pur­pose,” Chen said.

“In the past, I had no choice but to dine out in eater­ies around the of­fice, and I’m glad there are new choices for me to stay fit and healthy now, with these healthy food de­liv­ery ser­vices.”

The food at res­tau­rants around the of­fice usu­ally is not healthy enough, Chen said, be­cause it has too much oil and salt. She added that she needs few car­bo­hy­drates but rich pro­tein to main­tain a steady basal meta­bolic rate.

An­other rea­son she orders the take­out is be­cause the food is de­liv­ered to her of­fice and so is very con­ve­nient to eat.

Chen’s first ex­pe­ri­ence with such eat­ing was a salad brand, at the rec­om­men­da­tion of a col­league in July last year who was a reg­u­lar cus­tomer of that brand.

She or­dered the salad on and off for lunch for a long time. It usu­ally con­tained veg­eta­bles, fruits, white meat such as chicken breast and fish, and some­times grains.

Chen said she en­joyed both the taste and the nu­tri­tion, but is al­ways open to new options.

Her re­cent fa­vorite was a five- day- a- week take­out menu from a lo­cal kitchen. The ser­vice fea­tures break­fast, lunch, din­ner and a snack for a day’s con­sump­tion each work­day, and it also in­cludes a fit­ness ex­er­cise video.

Hav­ing such take­out food also gives her psychological sat­is­fac­tion be­cause she proac­tively man­ages her eat­ing habits and life­style. Ad­di­tion­ally, it mo­ti­vates her to ex­er­cise more pas­sion­ately, partly be­cause the ser­vice can be ex­pen­sive, Chen said.

She said most of those us­ing the ser­vice around her are fe­males, per­haps be­cause they are more sen­si­tive to body im­age and health and are more par­tic­u­lar about food qual­ity.

Many men she knows who go to the gym reg­u­larly buy chicken salad from con­ve­nience stores, she added.

While most of the calo­riecon­trol meals are fu­sion or Western-style, 700Kcal, es­tab­lished last year, pro­vides a va­ri­ety of calo­rie-con­trolled cuisines, in­clud­ing Thai and Caribbean food.

Its out­lets in Bei­jing sell such meals, and it plans to open branches in other cities, in­clud­ing Zhengzhou, He­nan prov­ince; Zhuhai, Guang­dong prov­ince; and Chongqing.

Tino, chief oper­a­tion of­fi­cer with 700Kcal, said the com­pany not only has a wide fol­low­ing among in­di­vid­ual buy­ers, but also sells prod­ucts at some eater­ies, be­cause it has a ster­ile cen­tral kitchen to pro­duce stan­dard­ized prod­ucts.

Liu Ya­jie, a car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease spe­cial­ist in Guangzhou, said he wel­comes the pop­u­lar­ity of such de­liv­ery ser­vices, be­cause healthy eat­ing is im­por­tant to pre­vent many chronic dis­eases.

How­ever, he warned that since these ser­vices often pro­vide such dishes as salad and water-boiled meat, cus­tomers should make sure that the ser­vices are pro­vid­ing clean, safe food with cold- chain lo­gis­tics. Oth­er­wise, he said, pathogens such as E. coli, which can cause di­ar­rhea, can eas­ily re­pro­duce.

Con­tact the writer at li­uzhi­hua@chi­nadaily.

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