Students seek healthy convenience foods

There is a growing nationwide craze for Amy’s Kitchen, a brand of healthy convenience foods, though is has not yet caught on on campus.

Amy’s is the nation’s leading source of natural and organic convenience food, and last year the campus convenience store, Hungry Johnnies, also known as the C-store, decided to carry the line of healthy individual meals.

Amy’s is a family-owned business named after the owners’ daughter Amy, who was born in 1987. The line of foods consists of burritos, entrees, pizzas, toaster pastries, enchiladas, pot pies, and pocket sandwiches. None of the products include any meat, fish, poultry, or eggs.

Although this is the company’s 17th anniversary, it is only the second year St. John’s has carried this line of health foods.

According to Denise Leon, the C-store’s food service supervisor, these products arrived on the shelves, because of “an overwhelming request” for healthier alternatives, as well as meals for vegetarians and vegans.

“The meals sell,” Leon said, “but are not that popular.”

When asked, most people had no idea that a healthy line of foods was sold at the C-store at all.

“A friend of mine has had one and I’ve heard they are really good,” sophomore Rosaleen McGill said.

However, many students do not buy these products simply because they do not care for them, or have never tried them.

Many students turn away because they lose interest when they see meals containing the phrases such as all-organic, non-dairy, soy cheese, or tofu.

Another aspect of the popularity in Amy’s Kitchen meals is the price. Because the products are made using organic ingredients, they cost the consumer more money. The products cost anywhere from $3.29 to $5.79 before tax.

The least expensive items were the pocket sandwiches, which are basically the healthier version of what is better known as a Hot Pocket. The more expensive items were meals such as lasagna, which cost close to $6.

“Yeah, it’s kind of expensive,” sophomore Dimitri Canal said. “Why would I buy one of these burritos when I can get another one for almost two dollars less?”

Other students, however, are willing to pay the higher prices for foods that follow their preferred diets.

Last year alone, Amy’s grew over 25 percent to reach annual sales of $125 million. The company also holds 70 percent of the organic frozen food market, which means there are still plenty of people out there who are willing to pay extra for these nutritional meals, including students at the University.