Ever wonder how meals reach your home from our kitchen? At Mom’s Meals, we deliver nutrient-packed, refrigerated meals to people with chronic conditions and those recovering from a hospital stay. Recently, we had the pleasure of sitting down virtually with Mom’s Meals Chief Operating Officer Dan Mandolfo and Vice President of Production Jon Murray to get the skinny on things.
To begin, how many kitchens does Mom’s Meals have?
Dan: Mom’s Meals has two kitchens located in Grinnell, Iowa, and North Jackson, Ohio. Grinnell is just about an hour from our home office in Ankeny. Both facilities are pretty amazing places fully outfitted for our professional chefs and their staff.
Let’s talk about how you create meals customers love! How do you determine recipes?
Jon: As for our recipes, our R&D team of certified professional chefs and registered dietitian nutritionists work together in designing nutritious meals – many tailored for specific chronic conditions. They know what ingredients work together not just to taste great but to stay within specific dietary guidelines, like less salt and lower fat for people with heart disease or lower carbohydrates for people with diabetes. All of our meals meet current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Our chronic condition-specific menus meet standards of care guidelines for each condition.
Can you tell us how you build your menus? The choices at Mom’s Meals stretch far and wide.
Jon: They certainly do! One menu can include 40, even 50 choices at any given time. We seasonally change and augment our selections, taking into account customer feedback and preferences. For instance, we offer more soups in the fall and winter, and we add items like burgers and hot dogs in summer when cookouts are in full swing. Of course, we always have our comfort foods like meatloaf and Salisbury steak, which are a huge hit with our customers!
Where do your ingredients come from?
Jon: We have a Food Safety team that ensures we meet the highest standards in food quality. We depend on a mix of regional and local suppliers and growers for our ingredients. Mom’s Meals only contracts with those we know will help us to maintain our excellent reputation for nutrient-rich, high-quality meals.
How does Mom’s Meals ensure food safety?
Dan: As far as food safety, we prepare and ship meals according to our own strict operational procedures. We also adhere to the standards of the USDA/FSIS (U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service) and the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). USDA/FSIS consumer safety inspectors are on-site daily at our manufacturing facilities to oversee operations and ensure our meals are safe and compliant. Our active in-house auditing program includes internal controls like GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) Programs, active and validated HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) Plans, product testing, rigorous sanitation, and allergen control programs, as well as regular employee training and testing. Our facilities are also SQF-certified (Safe Quality Food), which confirms that Mom’s Meals produces, processes, prepares and handles our food products to the highest possible standards globally.
Once you prepare meals in your kitchens, where do they go?
Dan: Meals from our kitchen are shipped daily under refrigeration to our fulfillment centers, of which we have four. They’re located in Ankeny, Iowa, North Jackson, Ohio, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Conyers, Georgia. All meals remain temperature-controlled so they stay in perfect condition.
Can you explain the fulfillment process?
Dan: Every order is customized for each client and packed to order. In addition to the meals themselves, our packaging really sets us apart. Mom’s Meals ships at refrigerated temperatures and our meals keep in the fridge for 14 days from delivery. Next, depending on a customer’s location, our fulfilled packages go into Mom’s Meals refrigerated trucks out for delivery or are picked up by a third-party shipper like UPS or FedEx. All third-party packages contain gel packs to ensure food stays at the appropriate temperature on the journey to our customers.
Finally, let’s talk about your drivers at Mom’s Meals. What is your delivery team like?
Dan: I can tell you they’re nothing short of top-notch. Our drivers serve as the face of Mom’s Meals. They’re professional and reliable, and they get to know the people who actually consume our meals. They build relationships with our customers. It’s not uncommon for our drivers and customers to be on a first-name basis. That speaks volumes.
...It most certainly does! To learn more about Mom’s Meals and our tailored menus to support general wellness as well as the more common health conditions, click here.