People are looking to make daily tasks more streamlined.  Everything from grocery delivery, selling goods online to home decorating.  It is no surprise that meal kits are on the rise.  These prep kits make dinnertime less stressful.  You can customize the kits to suit your needs with the number of deliveries you choose to receive, to healthy options for specific diets like Keto or vegan, as well as the number of servings.  These companies require a subscription and usually have a shipping cost associated with it. 

What is motivating this service? 

Convenience, quality, value, and healthier options.  The kits can allow you variety and ensure that you are meeting your daily nutrient intake.  The ability to customize these kits is very valuable.  For example, if you have a food allergy or are trying to lose weight you can be very specific about your needs. 

Some things to consider when shopping for which service is best suited to your needs are:

  • Subscription cost
  • Type of food
  • Meal specific, most offer dinner but breakfast and lunch options are available
  • Price per person/serving
  • Level of difficulty
  • Locally sourced food

Meal Kit Industry Statistics

Just being launched over thirteen years ago, the meal kit industry and its chefs rapidly adapted to changing customer food choices and became a multi-billion dollar business. Meal kit companies and their chefs have grown and failed and grown again.  Top companies like Blue Apron lost nearly 14% of customers in a single quarter, while HelloFresh is anticipating revenue to increase as much as 70% in 2021.

The evolution of meal kits over the past eight years in the United States has progressed in meeting the constantly changing needs of its current customers while expanding its’ overall customer base.  The market demands more meals which:

  1. Fit their specific dietary and lifestyle needs
  2. Multiple choices each week.
  3. Can be made quickly
  4. Are being designed to meet the needs of the whole family
  5. Pricing that is lower and more affordable

Companies like Marley Spoon and HelloFresh have had the foresight and capabilities to adapt to the needs mentioned above by mixing up the menus and creating new brands that appeal to the more budget-conscious consumer. 

A good example is how HelloFresh launched EveryPlate and Marley Spoon launched Dinnerly as simple, low-cost meals with simpler recipes and fewer ingredients.  Sun Basket and Home Chef have added meal kits which that require minimal prep time as well as the company Gobble who successfully built their business on the “15-minute meal kit,”.

Additionally, there are more kits targeted for special dietary needs such as those changing their lifestyles by eating more plant-based food.  Green Chef and Purple Carrot are a couple of companies who deliver vegan meal options.

The market has even seen a jump in meal kits aimed at certain holidays and events such as:

  • Easter and Thanksgiving
  • Big Game night
  • Date Night

Grocery store meal kits have also increased significantly in the past two years with examples like the acquisition of Plated by Albertsons, Home Chef by Kroger, and the partnership between HelloFresh and Giant and Blue Apron and Costco. As a result, grocery stores are in the production of their own kits with the increased demand.

COVID’s Impact of the Meal Kit Industry

  • New Trends

Several trends that have been seen during the pandemic that will affect the meal kit industry going forward is still unknown but is showing positive results with more consumers in the kitchen, due to stay-at-home orders and the closure of in-restaurant dining, more people are cooking at home.

  • Broader Customer Base

According to two popular meal kit companies, Home Chef and Purple Carrot, the demographics of consumers using meal kit services has expanded to a broader audience, including older populations who are not inclined to go to the grocery store as well as younger consumers who are tired of takeout and are not choosing to eat inside restaurants.

  • Rise in restaurant meal kits  

Many restaurants that were forced to close during some or all of the pandemic are pivoting to stay afloat; these locations are offering meal kits or take-and-bake meals in addition to takeout.  This is a great way for some restaurants to stay relevant, offer an alternative to in-person dining or takeout, and empower customers to continue supporting local businesses.

Who is the target market for meal kits?

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Consumers aged 35-44 are also heading to the grocery store for meal kits and showing similar growth in purchases. With this added point of distribution and consumers’ continued demand for fresh, fast, and easy home-cooked meals, demand is only expected to continue to rise.

Meal kit industry trends

The industry has flourished over the past few years; so much that it’s expected to be worth $11.6 billion by 2022 in the United States alone – and it’s certainly not confined to the US.

  1. Organic Foods

Kits make it easier for people who want to eat organic-only to find ingredients they would not necessarily find in a supermarket.

  • Catering to Different Lifestyles

There is a growing number of recipe boxes that are dedicated to specific lifestyles

  • Dietary Specialization

Some delivery services focus on catering for specific diets (as mentioned earlier)

  • A Foodie Trend That is Here to Stay

The meal kit industry undoubtedly is getting bigger and better. The scope for exciting and creative ideas is huge, and ‘eating out the box’ has never been tastier.

The Grand View Research Meal Kit Delivery Services Market Share Report 2021 – 2028 valued the global market at $10.26 billion in 2020. The report predicts the market will see a 13% compound annual growth rate from 2021 to 2028.  Some reasons may include:

  • Millennials prefer homemade meals to dining out
  • The benefits of kits offer value for money
  • Lockdown-related restaurant shutdowns worked in the kit industry’s favor
  • The pandemic made more people health-conscious, resulting in greater interest in healthy, balanced dietary choices

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