Meal kits at Expo East

Speed scratch

A growing number of brands are offering convenient, nutritious and often globally inspired hacks for a home-cooked meal, from packaged seasoning kits to simmer sauces.

“People are working more hours than ever before and are under more pressure than ever before, so consumers are figuring out ways to hack their meals into streamlined, efficient plates that minimize preparation time and maximize nutrition,” Ms. Mast said. “I think it’s all related to the fact that consumers have less time to cook, but I think it’s a bit of a backlash to the snackification trend, where people are just eating snacks all day long, to really wanting to still cook, but needing it to be made super simple and easy.”

Tasty Bite, Stamford, Conn., offers dozens of Indian and Pan Asian products, including entrees, sauces, and flavored and plain rice. The brand recently launched Spice & Simmer kits featuring whole spices, marinade and a simmer sauce. Varieties include tikka masala, Szechuan, korma, Kashmir curry, Thai green curry and teriyaki.

From Ancient Harvest, Boulder, Colo., comes Pow! Pasta Meals, featuring high-protein, gluten-free pasta with beans and peppers. With 14 to 15 grams of protein per serving, varieties include Italiano and Cubanitos.

Mac and cheese alternatives

Offering a sophisticated twist on traditional macaroni and cheese, Annie’s, a Berkeley, Calif.-based subsidiary of General Mills, launched gluten-free quinoa rice pasta with white cheddar, and Banza, Detroit, has introduced a line of macaroni-style chickpea pasta with cheese, which has 18 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber per serving.