Meal kit delivery services are cooking

Meal kit delivery services are cooking

Learn more about the burgeoning meal kit delivery services industry in Packaged Facts’ report, Meal Kit Delivery Service in the U.S.

What is Meal Kit Delivery?

Aug. 22 - Meal kit delivery services have exploded since their introduction in 2012, bridging the space between home-cooked meals and takeout. Meant to solve the perennial problem of “what’s for dinner?,” the meal kit delivery offers consumers a convenient way to cook at home without having to do the meal planning and grocery shopping. Many meal kit delivery services' websites offer online portals that let consumers order meals ahead from picture menus showing beautiful photos of each finished dish. After the order has been placed, meal kit services deliver the pre-measured fresh ingredients along with recipes to consumers' doorsteps to help them cook chef-like meals at home. Marketers in the meal kit delivery services industry are aiming for-and finding-a “sweet spot” with consumers who do not have the time, inclination, or know-how to shop for individual ingredients, find a recipe, and cook from scratch, yet do not want to eat yet another heat-and-eat prepared meal, order takeout food, or dine out.

Led by Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and Plated, more than 150 meal delivery kit services are now vying for this business in the United States, whether on a national, regional, or local basis. Over the past few years, meal kit delivery service startups have collectively raised more than more than $650 million in venture capital.  Most meal kit delivery services target young professionals and busy families with children, especially millennial urbanites. Freshness is a huge selling point: meal kit delivery services claim their ingredients are fresher than those consumers can buy in grocery stores.

Why Choose Meal Kits?

Meal kits are appealing to consumers who feel they don't have enough time in the kitchen to spend on meal prep. Meal kit delivery offers consumers:

  • The chance to skip grocery retailers or restaurant takeout
  • a chance to improve cooking skills
  • help with broadening taste buds
  • easily accessible & exotic ingredients.

Marketers also play up meal kits as being something fun to do that brings people together. Critics of meal kits say they are “like paint-by-numbers,” too expensive for most people, with an average cost of $10 to $15 per person per meal, and-by far the most common criticism-use too much packaging, much of which is environmentally unsound.

Forecast for the Meal Kit Delivery Services Industry

Meal kit delivery services have the potential to disrupt both the restaurant industry and the grocery industry because they allow people to cook restaurant-quality meals at home without going out to grocery shop or visiting a restaurant. Rather than worrying about whether meal kit delivery services will cut into their business, some grocery retailers and food marketers are starting their own such meal delivery services, hoping to carve out a niche of their own before the industry takes off beyond their reach. 

The first indication of the meal kit delivery services market gaining public momentum was recently seen during Blue Apron's IPO. Packaged Facts' recent market analysis predicted that the industry's biggest players would soon go public, in an effort to boost their chances of profitability in an industry that has long been known for being mostly filled with startup companies.

 Visit Packaged Facts' 'Meal Kit Delivery Services' page, our all-in-one resource on meal kit delivery. 

-- Susan Porjes