The subscription meal-kit model has seen better days. After winning over many consumers based on several compelling factors, providers such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh have faced challenges. Some of the upheaval is owed to the advent of in-store meal-kit merchandising that’s simply viewed as more convenient and even more cost-effective for consumers than delivery services.
Nielsen’s recent fresh-food study spotlighted the meal-kit opportunity along with four megatrends underpinning the fresh-food merchandising proposition: transparency, convenience, health and snacking.
When discussing meal kits, which operate across most of these trends, users accounted for 12% of households in 2018, up from 9% in 2017, with the number of users increasing 36% over the past year, according to Nielsen.
In-store meal-kit users jumped by 2.2 million households in less than a year, accounting for 60% of the growth. While the majority of meal-kit sales still occurred online in 2018, the growth was evident both exclusively in-store and within a combined online/offline space.
C-store might have a bona fide chance to win the dinner daypart, fueled by the presence of meal-kit programs, with one motivator being that 36% of customers top off their fuel tanks between 3 and 7 p.m., according to NACS consumer data, so they might be ripe for this dinner option.
Click through to view seven fresh and refrigerated food innovations, including meal kits and other packaged options, such as mini-meal alternatives.