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Subscription meal-planning tool expands countrywide

Founder: “Dinner Daily” service cheaper alternative to meal-kits, integrates store specials

An online meal-planning tool built behind busy families whose shopping decisions pivot on weekly supermarket specials is now available for shoppers at more than 10,000 U.S. supermarkets, its founder told SN this week.

The Dinner Daily was founded in Massachusetts by working-mom-turned-entrepreneur Laurin Mills, who in an interview Thursday said its users can save an average of 20% on weekly shopping trips while addressing the “what’s for dinner?” dilemma plaguing busy families.

Dinner Daily is a subscription-based web service that provides users with a weekly menu of five dinners and sides and an associated shopping list that is built around sale items from local grocery stores. The choices are based on an algorithm that also includes customer menu preferences, size of the family and “hundreds” of other considerations such as ensuring no one ingredient repeats too often and pairing main and side dishes that do not have conflicting oven-temperature requirements, Mills said.

Though currently available at dozens of grocery chains, Mills said the company's goal is to integrate its planning service with online delivery platforms at the country's leading supermarkets, such as Kroger, Peapod, Safeway, Hannaford and Roche Bros.

“We believe providing busy families with meal plans that are highly customized to their individual needs, while allowing them an easy and efficient way to source their groceries, will result in a compelling solution for consumers, and drive increasing customer loyalty and retention for the supermarkets,” Mills said.

Users of the program, which offer two-week free trials and a variety of subscription options from an $18 three-month subscription to a $48 annual fee, can also adjust preferences to adjust for the number of meals in a given week or make changes to the shopping list or preferred store as needed.

Mills said the menu offerings are based on “mom-tested and dietitian-approved” recipes and are influenced by internal software that scrapes pricing data from supermarket sales fliers. Typically, she said, menu items are based on weekly protein specials at stores.

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