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Old 10-05-2012, 10:51 PM   #1
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HRMs (home replacement meals) - why do you buy them?

Home Replacement Meals (HRMs) are those ready-made meals in grocery stores. I don't buy them, I prefer to cook at home. Here in Ontario we have a chain store, M&M, that specializes in entrees, etc., that are HRM. You get a loyalty card, etc. I always thought that people who bought HRMs didn't know how to cook. I was talking with an executive chef the other day about how off-shoring has really hurt my profession. He said the HRMs have hurt restaurants. That people buy those rather than go out to eat. I had never thought of it from that perspective. So, I'm curious, why do you buy the ready-made meals/entrees?
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:49 AM   #2
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My local Wegmans has great HRM's and I indulge in one ervery couple of months.

I buy them to try things that are too much work or expense to make for one person.

If I am too tired or disorganized to cook, most recently after spending the day in a hospital with a friend.

Finally, Wegmans has interesting vegetable sides that I like to try before making them at home. They usually share the recipes on the stores website.

They offer three versions, $6.00, $8.00 and $10.00, everything from meatloaf to salmon. The portions are generous enough for two meals and they are restaurant quality.

Sort of like a giant doggie bag!
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:38 AM   #3
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I, too, wouldn't buy (this hasn't hit this part of the country) HRM, probably, but, unlike you, I can see why people would. Like Aunt Bea, if you live alone or with one person, buying everything for a single great meal can be more expensive than just buying the meal. For example, a bag of carrots or stalk of celery can last us, well, months. If I need a bit of celery in something for the crunch, I really have to work to make sure we use the entire stalk when all I needed was a rib or two. I know people who are fussy eaters or married to such, and cooking becomes a chore.

And let's not mention, keeping a clean kitchen. My husband and I had a pre-nup. No, not about money, and not on paper. Just that we both love eating, and both like cooking. The pre-nup was that whoever cooks gets to put their sorry sore feet up and relax while the other cleans the kitchen. Even though I love cooking, there are days when I'd do anything NOT to have to clean the kitchen.

I broke my hip a few months ago .... if I'd lived alone, I'd be grateful for a meal, ready-to-eat.

I have friends who hate to cook, and once was looking at the price for ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals. I swear, you could not cook it for the prices they were giving at the local grocery store for a turkey and all the trimmings. I told her to look into it, and she was delighted (unfortunately we lived on opposite coasts or I'd just have invited her over).

All I can say, is that you couldn't pay me to cook a meal at those prices. I don't buy, because when I buy a meal I want someone to serve it to me and wash dishes after. In other words a restaurant. But I really can see the appeal.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:50 AM   #4
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I was going to say, this sounds exciting, wish we have HRM's here. Then I looked at a Wegmans website and discovered we already have such things, a hot deli serve yourself with a salad bar on the other side. Whole thing arranged like a buffet. So, now that I know what HRM is defined, I have to say, I always walk by without stopping. I know they have chicken, mash potatoes, gravy, something yellow, either au gratin taters or mac n cheese, something in a red sauce, once I saw Plain cooked Corn in a pan. I forget what the cost is, it's all sold by weight, so corn costs the same as chicken. What is offered here is all things I can make at home, and it doesn't have to sit in a steam table for who knows how long. Otherwise, the concept would be better if it was things I couldn't or didn't readily make myself.

And Celery. Don't get me started. I almost always have to toss out before I can use up a whole stalk. And the dang salad bar at the grocer's--- No they do not sell celery, either by the stick or chopped for a salad. C'est la vie.

If rotisserie chickens count, I have bought those. Not real often. And I buy smoked pulled pork ( butt) by the pound from a good BBQ joint. But they don't seem to use a scale, so it's always a heavy heavy pound, and I get the sauce on the side so I can use it for whatever way I want to incorporate into a dish.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:19 AM   #5
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I once stayed with a young woman in Newfoundland in a small town. She bought TV dinners and explained it was much cheaper, and almost as good, as the local restaurant for those nights she was too tired to cook.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:59 AM   #6
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We have a gourmet store called "The Fresh Market" and they do a lot of this stuff. It is quite pricey though. I haven't been in lately, but their rotisserie chickens were sold by the pound and could cost as much as $12 a piece. A package of 2 slices of quiche (cold, ready to heat) was $9. This store is in the right location though, right in the middle of a large affluent area. The HRM section is always crazy busy around dinner time when people are heading home.

The food always looks very good, but I'm too cheap to buy it, because in my head I can figure out the cost to make it myself. For that 2 slices of quiche for $9 I know that I could make 2 whole quiche from scratch, even using free range, local eggs.

We have an upscale chain here too, and they do a lot of this, so it must be popular with some people. This store has prices on almost everything higher than the competition and still manages to do well, I wonder if people just don't realize it, or just don't care?
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bakechef View Post
We have a gourmet store called "The Fresh Market" and they do a lot of this stuff. It is quite pricey though. I haven't been in lately, but their rotisserie chickens were sold by the pound and could cost as much as $12 a piece. A package of 2 slices of quiche (cold, ready to heat) was $9. This store is in the right location though, right in the middle of a large affluent area. The HRM section is always crazy busy around dinner time when people are heading home.

The food always looks very good, but I'm too cheap to buy it, because in my head I can figure out the cost to make it myself. For that 2 slices of quiche for $9 I know that I could make 2 whole quiche from scratch, even using free range, local eggs.

We have an upscale chain here too, and they do a lot of this, so it must be popular with some people. This store has prices on almost everything higher than the competition and still manages to do well, I wonder if people just don't realize it, or just don't care?
Have you noticed if this has resulted in restaurants in the area closing or changing their menus?
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:17 AM   #8
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Have you noticed if this has resulted in restaurants in the area closing or changing their menus?
No, not at all. But the area that that I live in has been doing quite well in spite of the recession, we have more business and restaurants being built all the time.

People who buy this would likely be the people that would do to-go food from restaurants, but that doesn't seem to be big business here, you rarely see people buying whole meals to-go from restaurants.

We have a lot of people here with a lot of money, they can afford convenience. If this recession has done anything, it has weeded out the mediocre restaurants, but the good ones are still thriving.

I imagine that if it was right beside a restaurant that specialized in to-go meals, that they could have an impact.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bakechef View Post
We have a gourmet store called "The Fresh Market" and they do a lot of this stuff. It is quite pricey though. I haven't been in lately, but their rotisserie chickens were sold by the pound and could cost as much as $12 a piece. A package of 2 slices of quiche (cold, ready to heat) was $9. This store is in the right location though, right in the middle of a large affluent area. The HRM section is always crazy busy around dinner time when people are heading home.

The food always looks very good, but I'm too cheap to buy it, because in my head I can figure out the cost to make it myself. For that 2 slices of quiche for $9 I know that I could make 2 whole quiche from scratch, even using free range, local eggs.

We have an upscale chain here too, and they do a lot of this, so it must be popular with some people. This store has prices on almost everything higher than the competition and still manages to do well, I wonder if people just don't realize it, or just don't care?
Maybe the pricier stuff is better?
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:41 PM   #10
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I think there is always someone to buy those meals. New couples working long hours, single people wanting a big meal for two, spouses alone when their loved one goes out of town, busy families that run out of time one evening. I could go on and on but you get the idea. Sometimes when I am pressed for time I will buy a ready made chicken and just bring it home to make the sides to go with it, but I could see myself buying the entire meal at some point. I kinda like that it is there in case I ever want to try it. :)
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