Publix to launch healthier (also more expensive) version of Lunchables: Will moms bite?

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Publix will start offering a healthier, more expensive version of Lunchables but will moms and their kids bite?

Its lunches will include: meats on honey-wheat break or multigrain wraps with carrots or Stoneyfield low-fat yogurt and organic milk. They will cost $3.99 according to the Sentinel. Lunchables run between $2.65 to $3.50 at Publix.

The story says Walmart already offers prepacked lunches at about 2,000 of it’s stores but didn’t offer details on how healthy they are.

From the Orlando Sentinel:

“Eighty percent of mothers with school-aged children are supplementing their family incomes by working in direct sales or doing other home-based work, said Maria Bailey, who runs a Fort Lauderdale-based marketing firm focusing on moms. ‘The convenience factor is even that much more important,’ she said.”

(That is amazing stat — 80 percent of mothers working some type of gig.)

“And prepackaged lunches aren’t just for lunch anymore.”

” ‘It can be a dinner at a soccer field, an after-school snack between school and dance lessons,’ Bailey said. ‘Moms are in their cars a lot now. Our children, they need to be fed on the go. The need for convenience is going to increase sales in this category.’

Some other interesting facts from the story:

  • The average child ate 25.4 meals of this type from March 2009 to March 2010, according to market-research firm NPD Group. Up from 22.3 three years earlier.
  • Lunchables have added healthier options lately and about 70 percent of moms surveyed think Lunchables have improved in the last year according to a Kraft spokeswoman.

So lots of questions here:

Do you use a Lunchable-type product for your kids for lunch or for other meals, such as before a ballgame?

Do you think the Lunchable product has improved healthwise over the last year?

Are you interested in Publix’s new offering? Will you look for it? Are you willing to pay more for a healthier prepackaged lunch?

47 comments Add your comment

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Stephen

July 20th, 2010
7:15 am

I remember in the old days when Mom or Dad made the kids lunch. Oh well we are committed to two income families now.

DB

July 20th, 2010
7:25 am

No way on earth would I pay extra for honey wheat bread and carrots!

Brett

July 20th, 2010
7:28 am

Check the sodium content for Lunchables…
over 60% of the daily..

Mo

July 20th, 2010
7:43 am

For the most part no I don’t use lunchables. I will admit I have bought a few when publix had them on sale for 1.00 each and I had coupons to go with that. BUT, my childs consumption of those few I bought were very spread out. Those things are so full of salt its unreal. My child truely considers them a treat because getting me to buy them is a REAL battle for her.

motherjanegoose

July 20th, 2010
7:48 am

I never bought into the idea of lunchables. I have purchased them maybe 3 or 4 times.
Not impressed. My kids ate school lunch 90% of the time as it was easier than me trying to fix something and package it. I did not put up with picky eaters…that is just me. If they wanted their own lunch…they fixed it themselves. …once they got in 4th grade or so. Many days they would tell me they were going to fix their own lunch and then that peetered ( sp?) out as it was just more convenient to eat at school.

I am also distressed at the number of families who eat ” on the fly” or in the car. I speak about this often in my presentations. Take a peak at this link..there at others:

http://children.webmd.com/guide/family-dinners-are-important

I have always been a working mom…outside of the house. We eat meals all together at least 4 nights per week. We do not eat in front of the TV or rarely in the car ( in the car on trips or rare occasions). You make time for what is important to you. Family meals are more important than other things…in our house.

Just wanted to share this recent experience that is NOT related to the topic. My daughter needs her second varicella ( chicken pox) vaccine for college. Our Doctor does did not recommend it nor does he carry it as it has a short shelf life and they usually end up throwing them away before they administer them. Not cost effective. I was told to go to the health department, which we did.

When at the health department, I was told that if we did not have insurance…the fee is $14. Since we have insurance, it is $115. I have spent 2 days and a blood test trying to figure out what to do.
Michelle ( form the blog) has helped me. My insurance will not reimburse for the health department, as we they are not a preferred provider.

Does it make sense that those without insurance pay $14 and those with insurance pay $115, when we might be the ones paying the taxes to cover the health department. I thought it used to be a sliding scale. Am I missing something here? This ( to me) is kind of like the kids who are eating free lunch at school but can then come up with money to buy ice cream every day….hello? My kids did not get ice cream every day as we paid for lunch ourselves.

sissyuga

July 20th, 2010
7:51 am

Yes the sodium is out of this world and the preservatives have to be too! I make his lunch daily and even though it is an added thing to do I feel better that he is eating healthier.

JesusFreak

July 20th, 2010
7:58 am

@motherjanegoose, I’m right there with you. We have to get reimbursed for a typhoid shot through the Health Dept. for my college age daughter going on a mission trip abroad and found out about the whole uninsured/insured fee discrepancy. There’s a whole lot that needs fixing in the govt. and this is but an example. Back on topic, the Lunchables have way too much sodium to be considered anything but a rare treat for my son, though he would love to have them all the time. The school lunches are not a whole lot better and the times that I’ve been helping at school and eaten there I found them to be unpalatable for the most part. Cheapest and best is lunch from home. It is very convenient when you prepack all the non-perishable items the night before, then add a few items and the sandwich itself that morning, preferably with your child’s help. Getting up 10 minutes earlier helps a lot too. Good point about the ice cream money for those getting a free lunch. Those same parents wouldn’t cough up $5 to go on a school field trip so it was cancelled…. Signs of the times.

Andrea

July 20th, 2010
8:00 am

I don’t buy them but I did steal their lunch ideas! I have found it cheaper to create my own. The kids enjoy going to the market to pick out their own fresh fruits and veggies. They also enjoy making their own wraps.

I like the idea of the lunchable type snack but I don’t buy the prepackaged ones.

motherjanegoose

July 20th, 2010
8:08 am

@ JesusFreak…oh yes, the school trip money….you can drive a Lexus but you cannot send in $2 for the field trip…or ( this is mean) you can buy cigarettes but your kid is on free lunch and you still cannot pay for the field trip…thus no one gets it because ( after all) we do have to be fair…huh?

I met my daughter’s friend and mother for lunch last week. Mom works in the county schools.
We have known them for years! We talked about the ice cream thing and I was reminded about how unfair the system is. I have said this before and it has been poo pooed but the same parents on free lunch are the ones who drive nicer cars and wear bling to school that I cannot afford. It is not just a GA issue…I hear it from teachers everywhere.

Lucky you can get reimbursed for typhoid…we cannot…we pay $$$ for the gold plan and that covers all immunizations for FREE within network. The health department is not within network….LOL. I have been on the phone with our health care provider for hours.
That is why I called Michelle.

Dad of Two

July 20th, 2010
8:19 am

Nope…too much sodium…try to avoid them…

Roekest

July 20th, 2010
8:26 am

Good parents actually take the time to make their kids a lunch. Careers don’t come first people; your families do.

motherjanegoose

July 20th, 2010
8:26 am

HAHA….our grandmothers would get a kick out of the fact that some folks today are paying for pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or GASP crustless bread. I never got the crustless bread. I used to tell my daughter that the crust would make her hair pretty….;0 I would NOT trim the crust.

My daughter’s major is Food Science ( product development) . Who knows what her generation will come up with?

atlmom

July 20th, 2010
8:27 am

I have never bought them (I don’t eat meat, so they are unappetizing to me, and I pack the kids’ lunches, so, they don’t typically have meat). They aren’t kosher, either, so well, that would be out. They are just so unhealthy. My kid asked me if he could have them, cause other kids at school did. And I told him they weren’t healthy. Then he told me he started to tell the other kids they are not healthy. OH NO. So I told him that other families do things differently, etc…

As for the health / vaccination/free lunch thing. No surprise. Any program out there does not in the end do what it is supposed to do. This is why there are stories all the time of millions/billions wasted in this or that program. But our wonderful govt never ever goes to evaluate any program to see if it’s working and if it’s a good use of the money.

Pat21

July 20th, 2010
8:30 am

Almost $4 for lunch?! No way!!You can buy a loaf of bread, a bag of carrots, and a package of Kraft cheese singles for $4. I say $4 for the week, not the day!

Just Me

July 20th, 2010
8:31 am

Good Morning,
It is not the lunchables themselves that have an immense amount of salt/sodium. It is the lunch meat in them. Kind of silly to not serve your kids lunchables but make them sandwiches to take to school.. It is the SAME THING!

JJ

July 20th, 2010
8:33 am

Read the nutrition label. You will NEVER buy another Lunchables again. Once my daughter started reading the labels, that was it.

If people took the time to read the nutrition labels there would be more of you cooking your own fresh food. There is NOTHING in a can in my house. Canned foods are the worst!!!! Prepackaged foods are the worst. Read the sodium levels…..it will make you sick!!!!

motherjanegoose

July 20th, 2010
8:39 am

@ atlmom…oh yes, you can drive your kids to school in your own car ( gas) because you do not want them to ride the bus and then when they get there, they can eat free lunch because you qualify for it. Wait…how did you afford the gas to get to school if you cannot afford lunch? I thought lunch was less than $2?

Actually, the kids who ARE eating free lunch might also be the ones whose parents can afford the $4 lunchables for an afterschool snack or dinner. Let’s think here…if a family of 4 each ate a $4 lunchable ( $16 total) , could that family also have chicken thighs,rice, veggies, fruit and a cookie for the same price?

Which meal would actually be better…can anyone figure it out? Can our government even figure it out. Yes, I am on my soapbox today! ;0

Target > Wal-Mart

July 20th, 2010
8:41 am

I’d rather eat dry leaves than give a penny of my already-overtaxed money to what Wal-Mart for the “food” they are peddling to the masses.

motherjanegoose

July 20th, 2010
8:41 am

JJ…LOL…I do have canned food here:
baked beans, tuna, soup and tomato sauce are just a few.

We do plan on eating authentic Italian tomato sauce in Boston tomorrow but I am not inclined to make my own.

Becky

July 20th, 2010
8:41 am

I have bought them a couple of times, but the one that the boy likes, you can’t get anymore..He loved the one with the turkey sub..Can’t find it anywhere…

@MJG..Almost makes you want to go back and tell them that you don’t have ins. doesn’t it? As I have mentioned before, I have a coworker that is like the Lexus story you told..Her kids always got free lunches, but they both always had the latest gadget that they wanted..The daughter is in college and they spend apx. $100.00 each year for decorations (sp) for Halloween..Now she told me the other day that when the daughter goes back to school this coming semester, she’s (daughter) is going to apply for food stamps..Again, my list could go on and on, but I’ll stop there..

Michelle

July 20th, 2010
9:12 am

I don’t typically buy the Lunchables…too much salt, etc. as has been mentioned. I would rather just buy the individual parts anyway. My little guy would rather have PBJ anyway (on honey wheat bread, more PB than J!)

He eats the school lunches, but many days comes home hungry because he didn’t like the food! This year he said he wants to start taking his lunch. We’ll see how that works out! I think he just wanted the cool “doggie” lunch box! :o) However, I am fine with making him some things to eat and packing up some fruit that I know he likes too!

MJG…I hope you get the vaccine thing figured out! I really, really hate to be dishonest, but I would almost be willing to go to a 2nd BOH office and claim no insurance! I know the BOH is supposed to be for those who are not working or don’t have insurance, BUT sometimes it is more cost effective to utilize their services!

A

July 20th, 2010
9:41 am

Have never purchased Lunchables and have never felt curious to even pick up the package in the store. Just looking at them I’d never serve one to my child. I know we are all rushed on school mornings, but if you keep your child’s lunchbox and containers out on your kitchen counter the night before and even get out a cutting board and knife, it does help to speed things up when you’re making their lunch. Mine started public school last year, but by choice only purchases school lunch maybe once every week or two.

TechMom

July 20th, 2010
9:42 am

MJG – have you checked to see if the TakeCareClinics (@Walgreens) are in Network? They offer the vaccines too. Otherwise, and I hate that I have started to think this way, I would be willing to walk in to the health dept and say I didn’t have health insurance. This is a gov’t agency, do you really think they’re double-checking stuff? Plus our (your) tax dollars already paid for that vaccine. The other thing I would check is to see if there is a family practice in your area that is In Network that offers the vaccine. I go to a family practice that is open 7 days a week and offers walk-ins as well so any time I haven’t been able to get my son into his pediatrician, I just take him there (cheaper than the ‘pediatric urgent care’)

motherjanegoose

July 20th, 2010
9:55 am

@ TechMom…yes Walgreen’s has them and we are Walgreen’s people in more ways than one.
thanks for sharing this…they DO have the vaccine.

NO our insurance will not allow us to go to Walgreen’s…even though this is where we fill all prescriptions. Michelle told me an option that should work for us.
I called them and they have the immunization and said they could bill it to our insurance.
We cannot go to another pediatrician ( in network) because they will bill a well check and we already had that last month when we went in for a check up to receive the needed immunizations ( which we did not get). The front desk clerk at our office kindly tried to get me into her pediatrician and this is what they told me…agreed with by my insurance…whew!

It has been a virtual merry go round and even our insurance company has directed us down the wrong path several times.

I am all for ALL children having immunizations but when taxpayers are paying for them and our own insurance but we cannot get the same immunizations that those who are not paying taxes can get…I am fumed. I would even be willing to pay on a sliding scale but over $100 for something they are paying $14 for….HELLO? $50 would be worth the trouble ( to me)…that is over 300% more…if I am doing the math correctly.

MORAL…the folks I have been to lunch with, with on this blog, are resources too and I thank Michelle for her assistance. I have made some actual and not just virtual new friends!

TechMom

July 20th, 2010
10:01 am

Back on topic… my son used to think the Lunchables were a treat too so every now and then he would get them… same with those Kid Cuisines (ick, but to kids they are cool). I’m guessing I’ve bought a handful of each over the years. The boy is now 15 so I don’t get asked for those anymore… he’d rather have an entire loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter.

As for meals on the go, I do think people will buy these if they can clearly show they are healthier but at 4 bucks a pop, I see a lot of people foregoing that and just hitting the drive through for $3. Plus buying ahead of time at the grocery store takes forethought.

Warrior Woman

July 20th, 2010
10:55 am

@ MJG – Call your provider for other in-network options that will have the vaccine. If no one has it, request an exception because the network cannot provide the required health care. If an exception is approved, document it fully and try to get it in writing.

TwinMomFromPS

July 20th, 2010
11:51 am

No Lunchables for my littles. It’s too hard to be sure of what you’re feeding them if you rely on prepackaged/processed foods too much. I’m pretty sure they’d prefer a turkey and cheese sandwich on whole grain bread anyway.

HB

July 20th, 2010
12:08 pm

I’m sorry, but I just don’t understand the complaint about the health department. You have insurance, so you should go somewhere in your network. If your network options are lousy, then your complaint should be with the insurance company, not the government. The health department is meant to fill a need for those who can’t afford health insurance, so why shouldn’t they require people who have it to either use their own plan or pay for an unsubsidized shot? The insurance company got your premiums, so no, the government doesn’t want to use our tax dollars to pay for something that you’ve already paid the company to cover and give the company a free ride. Sounds to me like you want the government to cover the cost because you feel working with your own insurance company is too inconvenient. I’m glad they’re refusing that handout.

And please stop assuming that all people who can’t afford insurance don’t pay taxes. There are lots of people making enough to pay income taxes who can’t afford insurance. And many of those who don’t currently pay because they have little to no income likely paid lots of taxes over the years before getting laid off (and losing their insurance) in recent years but now need to use the safety net.

TT

July 20th, 2010
12:11 pm

NO NO and NO. Just a though of what has to be put into a thin piece of meat to preserve it for months gives me shivers. How can that ever be healthy?

Jeff

July 20th, 2010
12:11 pm

From the comments, it sounds like this marketing company doesn’t understand the moms they supposedly are focused on.

As a working father, the study offends me, but that’s a soapbox for a different day. I’ve never bought my child a lunchable and probably never will. Maybe because they don’t market to me, maybe because I just make my daughter meals and we spend the money on other things. Eating sandwiches and fruit from home is sooooo much cheaper.

motherjanegoose

July 20th, 2010
12:28 pm

@ HB…I thought you would be on the other side of this and that is fine to have your own opinion, you have the right to it! I have obviously not talked to every citizen of the US but you are the only one who I have talked to that thinks it is a perfectly fair procedure at our HD.

My network options are not lousy. We have the GOLD plan. Yes, it is a red tape issue from our provider. Our Doctor simply does not carry the vaccine because it needs to be refrigerated and has a very short shelf life. I do not use a pediatrician for my teens, they have been seeing a general practice physician since they were twelve. At our office, they tend to end up throwing them away. Private medical facilities cannot afford to throw things away but the government can. this happens all the time. The older I get, the more I see how ineffective our government is and how they waste SO much money. Does anyone else here feel this way besides me?

“An astonishing 43.4 percent of Americans now pay zero or negative federal income taxes. The number of single or jointly-filing “taxpayers” – the word must be applied sparingly – who pay no taxes or receive government handouts has reached 65.6 million, out of a total of 151 million.”

Not sure if the HD is covered under federal or state monies?

Thanks warrior women….I know I have hijacked here but perhaps something will be learned by other Moms or Dads who will face this in the future.

Jessica Gottlieb

July 20th, 2010
12:57 pm

Oh dear, how best to address this? There are several points I would like to make.

1. If you are taking your cues from Lunchables, please stop whatever it is you are doing and enroll in a nutrition class stat. Your local community college should have one, it will save you a lot of money in healthcare costs later on in life.

2. Who is too busy to put some cheese and crackers into a piece of Tupperware? WHO? Because if you’re too busy to take the 45 seconds involved with that you surely don’t have time to read this.

3. There is a HUGE cost to these little packaged pieces of chemical reactions. Ounce per ounce you could be eating filet mignon and spending the same. So now you’re overworked and poor?

4. Where does all this trash go? Have you ever BEEN to a landfill? Please visit one, it makes for a wonderful family field trip, and you might decide that pre-packaged frankenfood is not only expensive (short AND long term), fattening, toxic, and salty, but you might also decide that tiny bits of food assembly make you a better global citizen.

HB

July 20th, 2010
1:06 pm

“The older I get, the more I see how ineffective our government is and how they waste SO much money.”

Then I’m sure you can understand how wasteful it would be to subsidize vaccinations that individuals have already paid the insurance company to cover instead of requiring that customers use that benefit or pay the full cost out of pocket. As for the 43% not paying income tax, that is an astonishing figure and certainly a reason to take another look at our tax code, but it’s not a sign that 43% of Americans are poor and don’t have health insurance. Much of that figure is due to tax credits aimed at the middle class for college, homebuyers, having kids, etc, reducing their taxes to zero and no doubt, many, if not most, of those folks have health insurance. If you’re lower middle class, aren’t in school, and didn’t buy a home last year, you may be working your butt off for a place that doesn’t provide health insurance and unable to afford a personal policy, but still pay income tax. The tax and uninsured figures won’t completely line up.

Not likely

July 20th, 2010
1:06 pm

I’ve never had a lunchable. My child eats Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches and a side of veggies most days for lunch. I wish the school offered a nutritious lunch for him, but they don’t. I would be willing to pay a little for fresh vegetables and grains. They could raise my property tax and/or charge my child more in the lunch line. But they won’t do it. People would rather pay less in property taxes now and more in medical expenses later I guess.

Cammi317

July 20th, 2010
1:56 pm

My daughter rarely eats school lunches. I started her off that way and on the few occasions we are running late and I would tell her to just buy school lunch she gets upset and says they are junk. I am going to look into these Publix meals. They might be a good alternative on those days when we are on the go.

JJ

July 20th, 2010
1:58 pm

I can understand the convenience, but the long term damage you are doing to your child’s body, by buying prepackaged “food” is very alarming. And people don’t seem to understand the conquences 20 years later. We ALWAYS had fresh fruit and a good fresh salad with dinner every night. My mom was a nurse so she new about nutrition. Sure we had fast food here and there, and it was a treat. It wasn’t an every day occurrence. I guess that’s why I don’t like eating in restaurants. I was always taught to eat fresh and be in control of my food.

penguinmom

July 20th, 2010
2:57 pm

My kids consider Lunchables to be a great treat. Same with Kids Cuisines. They can stand in front of the frozen section for 15 minutes trying to decide exactly which one they want.

I don’t buy Lunchables very often mainly due to the cost versus the cost of just a sandwich. So the fact that Publix’s is a more expensive one, even if it is a little healthier, probably means I won’t purchase theirs.

Since we home school, my kids eat at home most of the time. Even so, they fix their own lunches and have since they were about 6 yrs old. (They fix their own breakfasts also and the older 2 can actually fix a pretty decent dinner between them.) On the days when they need to take a lunch, it’s their responsibility to get it together and they have to live with whatever they fix. So, they love it when I occasionally purchase Lunchables or other packaged food because it means they can just grab and go.

Just Me

July 20th, 2010
3:22 pm

Chic fil a is chock FULL of salt & I KNOW most of you LOVE that place! If you had the time to create those babies, take the time to feed those babies properly!

Michelle

July 20th, 2010
3:23 pm

Just FYI, some insurance plans do not cover ANYTHING that is wellness related. I don’t see why someone that has insurance should be penalized to go to the BOH for the uncovered services in their plan. Why is that different?

HB

July 20th, 2010
3:40 pm

They shouldn’t be, Michelle. According to the Georgia Dept for Community Health web site, children whose vaccines are not covered by private insurance plans are eligible to receive vaccines through VFC (the federally funded program that local health departments and many private practices/clinics are providers for).

“The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program is intended to help raise childhood immunization levels in the United States, especially infants and young children. This effort requires wide participation and collaboration of private healthcare providers to reach children who might not otherwise receive vaccine because of financial barriers or who might receive vaccines late because they would be referred to another setting for free vaccines.

This federally funded program supplies vaccine free of charge to participating providers. The vaccine may then be made available to children up to 19 years of age who are:

Medicaid Enrolled
Uninsured (child has no health insurance coverage)
Underinsured (child has health insurance but immunizations are not a covered benefit)
American Indian or Alaska Native

The VFC Program allows providers to immunize eligible children for a nominal administration fee. The maximum administration fee a provider may charge is $14.81 per injection. Providers may also charge an office visit fee.”

common sense

July 20th, 2010
4:15 pm

GA has “Babies Can’t wait” program that a lot of pediatricians use to administer vaccines for free.

@motherjanegoose – Why not wait until your daughter gets to school and ask the clinic on campus how much the shot is? It may be cheaper.

uconn

July 20th, 2010
4:28 pm

What I don’t understand is why when a food item is better for you.. .i.e publix making a healthier lunchable option, it gets more expensive? Aren’t we supposed to be eating healthier? Why does it have to be so expensive to do so? Granted it is still cheaper to eat at home than to go to a restaurant but still… It all adds up…

penguinmom

July 20th, 2010
4:48 pm

@uconn – I agree. So often what is healthier or ’safer’ actually costs more. When we went through some financial trouble several years ago, we realized that a lot of the cheapest meals (hotdogs, mac&cheese, etc) were the least healthy. Even eating out, the healthy options are almost always more expensive.

uconn

July 20th, 2010
5:43 pm

@penguinmom … At Target you can get a box of Target brand Mac and CHeese for 49 cents… And a head of cauliflower is 2.19 …. Makes little sense!

motherjanegoose

July 20th, 2010
9:30 pm

@ common sense, she has to have the vaccine BEFORE she moves in and if she does not receive it, she will be unenrolled…after all of her hard work to get in.

Fed up

July 24th, 2010
7:43 am

One of my pet peeves is people who demand money from me to buy something that is better than what I have for myself… whether it’s a relative who wants $150 shoes or the government who wants to feed “poor” kids. My “rich” kids (and me and my “rich” husband) eat fine on $3.25 per person per DAY. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the occasional take-out. We eat meat, fresh fruits, and fresh veggies every single day … but you’ll never find the steak and shrimp that my friend on food stamps gets.