As the medically tailored home-delivered meal sector braces for exponential growth in 2024, Chef2Home by Metz has announced that John Gyza, formerly with GA Foods, and Julie Aiken, RDN, formerly with Mom’s Meals, have joined the company as Division President of Chef2Home and Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, respectively. The addition of these two industry leaders is a key component of Chef2Home’s overall strategy to (1) Prepare for growth in the sector; (2) Provide an outstanding culinary and service experience with healthy meals that have a positive impact on outcomes; and (3) Serve as a professional-grade partner to health plans, providers and community groups.
Factors Driving Sector Growth in 2024
The convenience of home-delivered meals has risen in popularity, driven by a growing population of seniors, individuals with chronic health conditions and increasing healthcare costs. The persistent problem of poor health arising from lack of access to proper nutrition costs the U.S. economy approximately $1.1 trillion each year and is a leading cause of mortality.
Adopting more programs that make and deliver medically tailored meals to people with serious, diet-sensitive diseases could result not only in improved health outcomes in the form of fewer hospitalizations nationally, but in a net cost savings of approximately $13.6 billion each year, according to new research from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.2
“The addition of John and Julie to the Chef2Home leadership team will drive more strategic partnerships for the home-delivered medically tailored meal sector and develop innovative nutrition solutions that lead to improvements in customer wellness,” said Jeff Metz, President of Metz. “With these two high-caliber culinary leaders on board, Chef2Home is well-positioned to meet our customers’ evolving nutritional needs, stay ahead of industry trends and continue developing and executing strategies for growth and profitability.”
The Chef2Home Strategy for 2024
Chef2Home is in the center of the sector, working with long-term care facilities, hospitals, health systems, senior centers and more to provide home-delivered, medically tailored meals to individuals with the cost of meals covered by the health insurance provider. Based on market demand, consumer interests and the trends Chef2Home sees emerging for 2024, the culinary organization has the following strategy to deliver for all those the Chef2Home team serves:
- Lead with hospitality
- Deliver the highest food safety and quality in the industry
- Support social equity and access
Leading with Hospitality
Hospitality is key for the Chef2Home team. The organization is laser-focused on meeting the specific nutritional needs of each customer by embracing the Food Is Medicine movement with chef-inspired, dietitian-designed offerings that are high in quality and flavor.
By creating the right meal, delivered at the right time, to the right customer, Chef2Home:
- Addresses the social determinants of health
- Improves health outcomes
- Reduces hospital readmissions
- Lowers the cost of managing chronic diseases
Chef2Home’s heritage of hospitality is a reflection of its parent company Metz Culinary Management, Inc., which espouses a strong “guest first” philosophy and is firmly rooted in hospital, health system and long-term care facilities. Chef2Home carries this heritage forward with a caring, positive and people-oriented spirit that customers know they can trust and where they can feel at home.
Delivering Safety and Quality
The Chef2Home operational team is methodical about safety standards. Though every state has different nutritional guidelines and policies, the Chef2Home team brings decades of industry expertise to the table to meet the unique healthcare standards of each region.
Chef2Home’s state-of-the-art Sarasota Culinary Center is USDA-approved and certified to meet or exceed all government health and regulatory requirements, with the highest standards of food and operational safety integrated into everything they do. The organization’s turnkey culinary programs follow Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) guidelines in the flow of food preparation and delivery, and meals exceed Older Americans Act (OAA) menu standards.
In its USDA-certified kitchen, Chef2Home creates succulent, nutritionally impactful, medically tailored meals that meet the health plan’s guidelines for each customer. Chef2Home’s meals are fresh frozen, locking in nutrients and giving each meal a 6-month shelf life versus the 14-day shelf life of atmospherically adjusted refrigerated meals.
Feedback from regularly conducted customer satisfaction surveys is essential to process improvement. Survey responses drive quality assurance and ensure customer satisfaction with the quality of meals served.
Supporting Social Equity and Access
Chef2Home builds bridges to those who may not otherwise have access to medically tailored meals with:
- New menus designed to satisfy the diverse cultural needs of populations across the country
- Partnerships with community organizations such as Meals on Wheels to provide “Grab and Go” meals and ensure that homebound individuals receive the medically tailored meals that they need to thrive nutritionally
- “Hospital at Home” program provides home-delivered meals to help avoid hospital stays
About John Gyza
John is a results-driven operations executive, committed to serving seniors and healthcare members with home-delivered medically tailored meals. He comes to Chef2Home from GA Foods where he served as Senior Vice President of Community Nutrition for five years. He led a 15-member CEO Client Symposium that analyzed the effects of the global economy on the senior living industry and participated in the development of senior living market research that is recognized nationally by senior living associations. He also worked closely with faculty at both Johnson & Wales University and Penn State University to educate hospitality department students about the senior living industry. He continues to advocate and educate at both the state and national levels for programs that improve health outcomes for those who require medically tailored meals to manage chronic health conditions. John studied Culinary Arts and earned his associate’s degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management from Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke, PA.
“Chef2Home is unmatched in its quality, safety and service in the home-delivered medically tailored meal arena,” said John. “I am so pleased to be working with everyone on the leadership team to grow the Chef2Home brand and support our customers’ health, longevity and wellness.”
About Julie Aiken
Prior to joining Chef2Home, Julie served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Homestyle Direct. From 2018 through 2021, she was Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships for Mom’s Meals where she led the Medicaid Director team for medically tailored nutrition, assuming a pivotal role as a cross-functional team leader for enterprise and state Medicaid and Medicare Advantage payer partnerships. She is a passionate advocate of tailored nutrition that leads to optimal health for nutritionally vulnerable individuals. Julie earned her undergraduate education at Oregon State University and completed a dietetic internship at St. Paul Ramsey Medical Center. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and has spoken at the national Food and Nutrition Conference Expo (FNCE) on the efficacy of home-delivered meals and as a healthcare industry speaker on nutrition and nutrition research.
“It is an honor to join the Chef2Home team with its deep focus on hospitality, quality and standards,” said Julie. “I look forward to working with our partners to ensure our home-delivered meals support our customers’ health needs and strengthen the company’s financials.”