Confinement caterers offer smooth delivery

Confinement caterers offer smooth delivery

With a new baby in the house, there is barely time to rest, much less cook. But more mothers are finding relief in an unexpected source - food caterers.

In particular, those that deliver special "confinement meals" to them every day.

Companies offering this service have been getting more customers in recent years, which they say is partly due to the shortage of confinement nannies.

Also, fewer parents live with their grown-up children nowadays, making it harder for them to help out, they say.

Even new players are receiving keen interest from new mums, many of whom have little idea how to prepare confinement food. Such meals are more nutritious and complex than everyday fare, to help mums rebuild their strength after giving birth.

For instance, the food is often infused with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and herbs.

A month's worth of confinement food usually costs more than $1,000, or about $30 a meal. In contrast, daily delivery of regular meals, also known as "tingkat", can be as cheap as $100 a month for one person's share.

RichFood Catering director Agnes Chai pointed out that most families now hire foreign maids to do the housework.

"The mother primarily needs only for the meals to be settled," explained Ms Chai, whose firm has seen customer numbers jump to 450 last year, more than triple the figure it served in 2008.

People now are also more receptive to the concept, said Mr Kelvin Ong, who heads confinement meal provider Natal Essentials. When he started in 2002, many were sceptical. "Things were so bad, we sometimes had only one customer a month," he said. Now, it handles about 100 orders a month.

Meanwhile, Thomson Confinement Food has seen a "steady increase in orders" despite being in business for barely a year, said Ms Amy Leong, who heads business development at Thomson Medical, which started the initiative last October for its patients.

"Modern mums prefer to spend more time enjoying and bonding with their newborns," said Ms Leong. "In addition, the skills in confinement cooking have not been fully passed down to the younger generation."

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