Redefining culinary convenience for retirees

14 July 2023

The demand for heat-and-eat meals has sky-rocketed in recent years, where we’ve seen supermarkets go from only one or two rows of frozen packaged meals to where there are now literally hundreds of options. There are even companies who can now deliver these types of meals in bulk straight to your door.

Southern Cross Care QLD (SCCQ) noticed many of the residents in our Retirement Village communities were purchasing these kinds of frozen meals or having them delivered. With four of our Retirement Villages co-located with an SCCQ aged care home, SCCQ’s Head of Hospitality, Chris Willis and his team realised an opportunity to leverage the capabilities of our multiple kitchens and catering staff at a few of our sites to serve even more people with high quality, delicious meals.

“Having a number of kitchens available in our co-located communities gave us the idea and ability to expand our capacity to create readymade, packaged meals. It meant we could provide an additional service to our Retirement Village residents who were wanting this convenience, and we have now successfully done this under the “Southern Cross Kitchens” brand,” said Chris.

With the success of the range in SCCQ’s Caloundra Retirement community, the new range of Southern Cross Kitchens frozen meals was rolled out in April 2023 to include SCC Stretton Gardens Retirement estate, and the take-up and feedback from residents has so far been very positive.

“We love the taste, variety and convenience. My wife Maureen says that any night she doesn’t have to cook, is good,” said Stretton Gardens resident, Alan Price.

Alan and his wife aren’t the only ones enjoying the quality of the new Southern Cross Kitchens meal range, with many more residents taking advantage of the convenience and wide variety of options in the range.

“We see a number of residents and families dropping in to pick up meals on a regular basis, and to keep up we have added a number of days of sole production into our rosters,” said Chris.

With the range currently including ten different meal options, all at $7.50 each for a 350g serving (and a microwave heating time of around 5-6 minutes on average), it’s no wonder the new product line is quickly gaining popularity with retirement residents.

The Southern Cross Kitchens Frozen Meal range is currently available at Caloundra Rise Retirement Village Bistro (during bistro opening hours) and at Stretton Gardens Retirement Village during office hours, and include options such as – Roast lamb or Roast beef with roast veg & gravy; Beef lasagne; Chicken satay; Lamb korma; Chicken carbonara; Bangers with mash & Diane sauce; Shepherd’s pie with veg & gravy; Butter chicken; and Sweet & sour vegetable stir-fry.

Chris and his team are now gearing up to roll out the readymade meal range across SCCQ’s other Retirement Village Communities at Holland Park, Eden’s Landing and Noosa Waters later this year.

Chef Paul Clarke with resident Alan Price enjoying the convenience of frozen meals cooked onsite at SCC Stretton Gardens Retirement Village.