The Meal Kit Delivery Services Market

Welcome to Packaged Facts' all-in-one Meal Kit Delivery Services page! You'll find all the information you need concerning the maturing meal kit delivery industry through our market research reports, blog posts, press releases, videos, & multimedia, all consolidated for your convenience.

Trends & Opportunities 

Meal kits hit the sweet spot with consumers who don't have time to shop for groceries or order from foodservice. With meal kits, services deliver ingredients with easy-to-follow recipes straight to the doorstep. Websites feature high quality images of foods with flavor profiles of all kinds, and allow for adjustable delivery times whenever need be. "Meal kit delivery services," says David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts, "have exploded over the past few years, bridging the space between home-cooked meals and takeout." 

The meal kit industry is worth over $1.5 billion, dominating the market for the kitchen-savvy who crave simple meal preparation without sacrificing quality or convenience. The market is filled with services both big and small that cater toward different consumer niches. For onlookers outside of the sector, the largest opportunities for food services include: 

  • Fresh/refrigerated Food Suppliers
  • Party-Size Delivery Services
  • Packaged Foods
  • Hospitality Services
  • Services targeting millennials 

In the past, many startups emphasized the industry's potential profitability. One of meal kits' most famous players, Blue Apron, recently went public, signaling to competitors that the market may respond well to company expansion. 

Customers see Meal Kits as Healthful, Convenient 

The market for meal kits is made mostly of younger consumers who embrace food retail that leans toward the natural foods channel. Premium foods suppliers who locally source their ingredients will likely notice early opportunities, as long as meal kits balance high quality ingredients with price tags customers can stomach. 

The most important consumer niches will likely include:

  • Organic
  • Veggie-centric
  • Paleo
  • Specialty Diets 
  • Farm-to-Table home meal prep.

Marketers in food and beverage should prepare for meal kits to expand the fresh foods perimeters into the e-commerce, smartphone app, and social media hyperspaces.

"Meal kit delivery services have exploded over the past few years, bridging the space between home-cooked meals and takeout."

Meal Kit Delivery Industry News

 In-depth industry coverage with links to Packaged Facts blogs, press releases & food industry sources.

HelloFresh Likely to be Next Meal Kit Service Going Public

Berlin-based meal kit service HelloFresh is considering filing an initial public offering that would value the company at $1.8 billion.

The company competes heavily with Blue Apron and other big-name competitors in the U.S. market, where much of its marketing expenditure goes toward advertising and discount offers, and is hoping to break even on operating costs by 2019 by trimming spending on marketing by 2019. 

HelloFresh's possible public move comes on the heels of the underwhelming response to Blue Apron's own IPO, which is covered in the market outlook analysis in Meal Kits Delivery Services in the U.S., 2nd Edition.

What We've Been Reading: "Once-Hungry Investors Pass on Meal-Kit Startup"

According to the Wall Street Journal, the business of delivering packages containing premeasured ingredients has begun to lose its viability in the eyes of investors.

Just a few years ago, the meal kit business attracted millions of dollars from venture capitalists and other types of investors, when the industry still seemed fresher and its options of market expansion and proliferation into a more public sphere were as yet untested.

Now, there are many in the investing world that openly question the viability of meal kit startups for reasons such as major logisitical hurdles, high costs related to attracting and retaining a loyal consumer base, and of course, the imminent arrival of other -often larger- industry competitors and rivals.

One in Four Purchased Meal Kits in 2016

A recent Harris Poll reported that one in four adults purchased meal kit delivery in 2016, with 70% of respondents saying they continue to purchase meal kits. Customers are embracing the convenience meal kits deliver; the same poll reported 46% of respondents saying time management was a deciding factor in purchasing meal kit delivery. 44% of respondents said they would reconsider purchasing meal kits purely because of convenience. 

Meal kits have jumped on popular health trends: over one-third (34%) of Harris Poll respondents noted healthy recipes as one of five top reasons for purchasing meal kit delivery. A majority see meal kits as healthier alternatives to food options such as prepared foods from grocery stores. In terms of quality, over 9 in 10 consumers said they were satisfied with their meal kit's quality. 

Meal Kits in Food Retail

"Meal kit delivery services are a specialized sector but widely disruptive force in the food industry," says Sprinkle. "And new approaches to fresh food groceries are what consumers are most interested in, and what will determine the winners and losers of the current food industry re-set."

Meal kits do not have a single type of provider, although grocery retailers are common purveyors. Meal kit delivery may not replace grocery shopping or cooking from scratch, but Amazon's deepening moves and startups going public are creating a clearer picture of the meal kit industry's competitive environment. 

Meal kit delivery services market their products as fun, convenient, and reasonably priced while maintaining a certain "specialness". Meal kit delivery may see its biggest challenges come from supermarkets that create fresh food meal kits with same-day delivery via partnerships with services like Instacart

Blue Apron & the Amazon Effect

Blue Apron's IPO turned heads in the food industry, and whose 15% share of meal kit subscribers made them the highest-profile fresh food meal kits competitor to go public. "As a leader and innovator in this still very new food sector, Blue Apron's IPO filing hints at the viability of meal kit deliveries as they mature from startups to fully realized and potentially profitable business investments," says David Sprinkle. 

Competition looms on all sides - retail & e-tail grocers, packaged food companies, foodservice, even customer ready to gain culinary confidence - and Blue Apron must consider survey data that show a significant share of customers' meal kit delivery services going out of business. 

"New approaches to fresh food groceries are what consumers are most interested in, and what will determine the winners and losers of the current food industry re-set."

Meal kit delivery's multi-billion dollar destiny is the incentive for competitors like Blue Apron to go public. The company's filing saw a 2014 net revenue of $78 million jump to $341 million in 2015, doubling to nearly $800 million in 2016. Despite revenue spikes, the meal kit giant lost $55 million in net income due to increased marketing expenditure, which accounted for almost 25% of Blue Apron's net revenue in the first three months of 2017. 

Blue Apron recently published its Q2 earnings, saying net revenue increased 18% year-over-year, reaching $238.1 million and beating out Wall Street's predictions. Blue Apron's Q2 marketing expense came out to $34.5 million, a 14.5% chunk of net revenue. The company's stocks still dropped sharply, however, following news that Blue Apron is experiencing issues related to a new facility in Linden, NJ. 

On Sep. 12, 2017 it was reported that Capital World Investors, Blue Apron's second largest investor, had sold its 12.9% stake in Blue Apron. 

Blue Apron's Mounting Marketing Problem 

Consumer retention has long been a challenge for Blue Apron, though its marketing expenditure has put it "ahead of the crowd". Blue Apron has, for example, targeted Hispanic consumers through Hispanic TV stations -- 30% of meal kit delivery subscribers are Hispanic or Black. 

Food market analysts have pointed to different reasons for lukewarm investor interest in Blue Apron's IPO, from sector-devastator Amazon's bid on Whole Foods and its rapid growth in grocery retail, to Blue Apron's associations with (currently) unpopular tech stocks. Food industry companies not engaged in meal kit delivery will likely reconsider how to best engage in the market for meal kits. 

Some of Blue's big-name competitors have identifed other ways beside venture capital to establish a market presence. Meal kit service Chef'd, for example, raised over $35 million by leveraging the evolving  e-commerce space with the help of legacy food companies Smithfield Foods and Campbell Soups. Chef'd, based in El Segundo, CA, is free of subscription or membership fees, and partners with chefs, culinary personalities, and over 125 brands in food, fitness, and health & wellness. "-E-commerce and direct-to-consumer is an evolving space," said Chef'd CEO Kyle Ransford. "The strategics are ahead of the financial players in terms of understanding where the market is and what it's doing." 

Blue Apron's IPO is in line with Packaged Facts' market outlook analysis, which anticipated the meal kit delivery services industry's biggest competitors going public. Boding well for meal kits are multiple industry competitors reporting success, as well as Amazon's aggressive entry into the still-maturing market. 

More consumers are choosing meal delivery services for convenience

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Latest Research in Meal Kit Delivery Services  

Meal kits have reached a moment of reckoning. Blue Apron, the meal kit industry's best-known competitor, filed an IPO that met with tepid investor interest at best. Has meal kit delivery been overblown? Is it destined to implode? Or is there a path to success that may not run through Wall Street?

Packaged Facts' new report, Meal Kits Delivery Services in the U.S., 2nd Editionaddresses these questions and offers up-to-date analysis on meal kit delivery's place in the food industry, and where opportunities for future meal kit industry growth lie. 

Who is Purchasing Meal Kits? 

Consumers want convenience, but they also want to cook -- Packaged Facts' proprietary data show that:

Meal kit delivery services subscriber demographics
  • Around 50% of U.S. adults ordered pizza in the past 30 days
  • 40% ordered home delivery
  • 20% ordered groceries
  • More than 9 in 10 adults cook from home, and cooking from scratch remains the most common meal preparation method, with 70% of shoppers doing it 3+ times per week.

Despite attrition in consumer use of meal kit delivery - particularly after free or discounted product trials - almost all current meal kit subscribers use the company they first signed up with, and nearly that entire percentage recommends meal kits to friends: 

  • Nearly one-fifth (17%) of adults currently receive meal kit delivery services
  • 33% of consumers familiar with meal kits have used free product trials
  • 90% of subscribers recommend meal kit delivery to friends

Age - between 25 and 44 years old - is the strongest predictor of who uses fresh meal kit subscription services. Meal kit subscribers are disproportionately inclined to have ordered products or services online in the past three months, and to have purchased something digitally in the past seven days. 

The food industry already fills the delivery niche through prepared food, but meal kits uniquely engage consumers through simple recipe instructions. Meal kits set themselves apart from grocery retail and foodservice by combining premium ingredients with an emphasis on convenience. 

Meals Kits Delivery Services in the U.S.

Meal kits' sales numbers may seem small compared to those of other sectors, but have attracted industry attention through their market flexibility: meal kits fall within brick-and-mortar grocery retail, supermarket, and e-commerce market sectors.

Consumers' ever-increasing demand for convenience is shifting the burden of getting food to the table onto the shoulders of retail grocers and foodservice channels. This trend is attributed to time-pressed consumers eager for convenient alternatives. To that end,many retail grocers, foodservice operators, and other food marketers are innovating their own meal kit delivery services, rather than risk their revenue streams.

Supermarket Chains Taking Action in Meal Kit Delivery:

Meal kit delivery services are stirring up a competitive environment in which securing consistent consumers will be marketers' key to success.

Packaged Facts' report, Meal Kits Delivery Services in the U.S.,2nd Editionprovides complete coverage of the market for meal kit delivery services, addressing crucial topics such as:

  • The competitive environment among leading meal kit delivery services
  • New, up-and-coming meal kit delivery competitors
  • Past & unsuccessful meal kit delivery services 

Our market research reviews the various methods by which consumers can obtain meals from both retail grocers and foodservice channels, given meal kit delivery's place within an increasingly complex "omnichannel" food delivery universe (think e-commerce, online grocery delivery, social media). Meal Kits Delivery Services in the U.S.,2nd Edition explores the industry's impact on each and every food industry channel.