Whole Foods, Purple Carrot delivering meal kits to retail stores but which consumers will bite?

Whole Foods, Purple Carrot delivering meal kits to retail stores but which consumers will bite?

The O'Jays said it best, “give the people what they want.” And these days what most people want are better-for-you food and beverage options. It’s no wonder then that food retailers catering to healthier lifestyle trends—namely Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s—have been among the most innovative with their branding, product offerings, and ability to foster a sense of community among their customers.

In this vein, the swelling popularity of meal kit delivery services attracted the attention of ever-trendy Whole Foods, namely Whole Foods' Dedham, Massachusetts location. The popular health food chain has partnered with upstart meal kit company Purple Carrot to test out the latter’s line of plant-based meal kits at Whole Foods in Dedham. Testing began last week and the partnership marks the first time Purple Carrot will offer its products in stores. The kits tested at Whole Foods's Dedham location are downsized to include fixings for a single meal for two people and costs $19.99.

How This Partnership Affects Meal Kit Delivery Services

Teaming with Whole Foods gives Purple Carrot the opportunity to become a recognized brand among consumers who otherwise may have never heard of the company. It also provides Purple Carrot a way to introduce the quality and diversity of its products to consumers at a more affordable entry price then what they would pay for the traditional meal kit delivery service that arrives directly to their doorstep.

What’s equally interesting about the Whole Foods-Purple Carrot partnership is that on the surface it seemingly caters primarily to a small, yet dedicated segment of the consumer populace. Being plant-based, Purple Carrots’ meal kits are vegan friendly. Vegans comprise roughly 6% of the overall U.S. population, but reports indicate that the percentage of Americans claiming they ate less meat in the last 12 months ranges between 26% and 41%. Clearly the opportunity to appeal to non-vegan and perhaps even non-vegetarian consumers is there.

Millennials a Key Meal Kit Delivery Target Segment

Purple Carrot CEO and founder Andy Levitt launched the company in 2014 as a meal kit delivery service touting a “New American Diet” based on humane and healthy eating practices that have a low impact on the environment. It’s an ethical approach that will endear Levitt and Purple Carrot to Millennials in particular. Millennials are more often foregoing meat.  About 10% of this demographic consider themselves vegan and more than 60% of Millennials consume meat alternatives.  Behind vegan choices made by Millennials are thought to be greater social consciousness about health, environmental choices and animal welfare. 

The Bigger Meal Kit Delivery Picture

On a big picture level, meal kit delivery services in general have exploded over the past few years, bridging the space between home-cooked meals and takeout. They are in essence the latest evolution in providing customers with meals that were both healthy and convenient—effectively giving the people what they want.

In the report, Meal Kit Delivery Services in the U.S., Packaged Facts breaks down the primary attractions of meal kit delivery services:

  • Saves time and stress of shopping and meal planning
  • Freshness—a huge selling point
  • No food is wasted
  • Teaches cooking skills
  • Almost foolproof
  • Promotes discovery and introduces variety
  • Makes exotic ingredients available everywhere
  • Lets consumers create a gourmet meal at home
  • Fun to do
  • Brings people together
  • Promotes portion control and caters to special diets

Based on the number of meal kit delivery services around the country, the current numbers of meal shipments and growth rates claimed by marketers, and the almost certain entry of such services from retailers and food marketers (ahem Whole Foods), Packaged Facts conjectures that the U.S. meal kit delivery services market will generate approximately $1.5 billion in sales by the end of 2016 and will grow to a multi-billion market over the next five years.

Find more information on the meal kit delivery services industry in Packaged Facts' new report, Meal Kits Delivery Services in the U.S., 2nd Edition. You can also visit Packaged Facts' new all-in-one meal 'Meal Kit Delivery Services Market' page, which provides constantly updated industry coverage.