Do Meal Kit Delivery Services Deliver?

"Meal delivery kits"A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reviewing various meal kit delivery services begins with “Imagine having fresh meals delivered to your door on a weekly basis but you have to cook it. Meal kit delivery services send you everything you need for a meal, from the recipe to all of its ingredients measured out.” Really, imagine? Everything you need for a meal “but” you still have to cook it and set the table, serve it, and worse of all clean up the mess which includes the mess from cooking, pots and pans, dishes, and throwing away all of those shipping boxes and pre-measured ingredient bags and boxes. Do meal kit delivery services deliver?

I have to admit that I don’t really imagine that pre-measured little boxes of ingredients with step-by-step preparation directions that are pre-ordered online for dinners for the coming week are something that will redefine the weekday dinner or revolutionize the way you cook at home and shop for groceries. Seems like a concept in search of a benefit.

Who exactly is the intended audience for the Hello Fresh video and the intended user for these delivery kits? I totally get grocery delivery services such as Fresh Direct and Green Bean Delivery. Ditto with restaurant meal delivery such as Grub Hub and Seamless.The benefits are convenience, simplicity and daily life is improved.  But with the hybrid homemade pre-made meal delivery kit services you have a little convenience (no grocery shopping)  but also inconvenience, e.g. you still have to plan ahead (order a few days in advance) and anticipate that you really will be in the mood for Moroccan Beef on Wednesday and assume that you won’t be too tired to cook and clean up. Not so simple.

So, is the intended delivery kit user millennials? A recent article on the rise of convenience foods market highlighted the influence of millennial on convenience food trends: Millennials “appear to want what they want, when/where they want it,” one U.S. marketing report concluded, food companies are under greater pressure to “deliver more for less — fresher, higher-quality products, with more choices and more convenience.” But meal delivery kits don’t seem to provide a solution to the “what they want/when they want it” mind set and definitely not the “more for less” given the price range for meal kits delivery versus other alternatives, i.e. eating out, ordering in. Millennia’s tastes may be hurting McDonalds and helping Chipotle but I think the entire concept of meal kit delivery is the antithesis of how millennials disruption are disrupting the food industry.

Hello Fresh, Blue ApronPlated and Plate Joy deliver dinner, just not the more convenient, fool proof, revolutionary one they promise. And they can’t as long as they don’t provide the cook or the dishwasher. Meal kit delivery services deliver a concept in search of a customer need and a customer benefit.

And personally, I think the Hello Fresh video is condescending ala a science fiction movie voice over promising a future that no one wants. Do you agree or disagree?





Author: Marianne Richmond

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