Prepared meals a trend in both chain stores and local shops

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Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012 4:51 pm | Updated: 9:20 pm, Thu Dec 27, 2012.

SARASOTA - Only 14% of Americans are eating the recommended amounts of fruits and veggies each day, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. And while the list of excuses is long, for a lot of people, it comes down to not having enough time to prepare healthy meals. But now some grocery stores are providing an option.

The newly-refurbished Publix on Longboat Key is a new concept for the grocery store chain, where among other services, they offer shoppers a wide variety of prepared meals.

But it's not just big chain stores like Publix jumping on board. Small local businesses are now also offering nutritious food that's ready to eat for time starved consumers.

“Peace, love and the power of greens to you” is the slogan for Two Girls Food on Siesta Key. And if you're looking for healthy meals, but don't have the time for the washing, chopping, and preparing, then look no further.

“We offer raw, vegan food and juice.” Nina Lakatls and Lynn Morris started the business about a year ago, offering fully prepared meals to be delivered or picked up -- ready to eat. And the demand on the Suncoast has been overwhelming. “It's been pretty amazing, the momentum we have, really. We've done no marketing, just on Facebook and through referrals and word of mouth. And really just people having different health issues wanting to get to some health and fitness goals, the food is very good for that.”

Officials with Publix Supermarkets picked up on the prepared food trend as well, offering an extended prepared food section at the brand new store on Longboat Key. “So many of our customers are time starved, so we really want to make sure in all of our stores we really look for ways to help minimize, and make it more convenient for their lifestyle. Being able to come in here and grab breakfast, lunch, dinner to go helps so many of our customers,” says Shannon Patten.

Danny Pivnick, says he's one of those customers. “There's a huge segment of the market that lives alone or is just too busy to prepare a dinner, so I think actually more space should be allocated to this area in shopping stores.”

Aside from the prepared meals, the new Publix also offers a specialty cheese shop and an expanded wine department, both staffed with specialist. Also a body care section, also with specialist to help pick out supplements, etc.

If you're interested in Two Girls Food, visit their Facebook page.

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