Culinary convenience is a quality coveted by many Americans who struggle to fit meal preparation into their busy schedules. It’s no surprise, then, that meal delivery service is the latest and most successful attempt to provide people who are on the go with simple solutions to their mealtime problem.
Meal Delivery Services Offer Luxury of Convenience, Time Saved, and Healthy Ingredients
Meal kit delivery services are the happy medium between home-cooked meals and takeout. According to a recent Harris Poll, one in four adults purchased meal kit delivery in 2016, and 70% of those consumers continue to purchase more. The main reason why customers regularly purchase meal kits is the luxury of convenience they’re afforded, especially if they feel like there’s little time to spend in the kitchen on meal preparation. The same poll reported that among the top reasons for ordering meal kit delivery, 46% of people listed saving time on meal planning, while 45% listed short meal preparation time. Time management is apparently such a crucial part of meal preparation that 44% of consumers polled said they would reconsider purchasing meal kit delivery services purely because of the convenience they offer.
The health trends so prominent in the U.S. food and beverage market have not been neglected by meal kit delivery services. Packaged Facts reported in 2016 on the importance of high quality ingredients meal kits deliver to customers’ doorsteps, and the confidence it instills in customers who know exactly what kind of ingredients they’re getting. When polled, over one-third (34%) of people listed healthy recipes as one of their top five reasons for purchasing meal kit delivery services, and a majority saw meal kit delivery as a healthier alternative to prepared foods bought from local grocery stores. The reasons for choosing meal kits and meal kit delivery services over prepared foods and grocery store food products seem wide-ranging, but satisfaction among meal kit consumers remains consistently high. Over 9 in 10 consumers say they’re satisfied with their meal kits' quality, a good indicator that meal kits’ popularity will continue to heat up so long as people want healthy, convenient food options.
Room For Improvement: Consumers Crave Dessert Options & Lower Costs in Meal Kits
Customers list many benefits to meal kit delivery services, but they aren’t afraid to mention what’s still lacking. Meal kit fans want to see sweeter options on the table, with 86% saying they would include dessert items in their purchases if they had the chance. And while convenience is obviously a massive draw for those strapped for time, meal kits have lost consumers in the past due to relatively high costs compared to other prepared foods and options in the grocery store. Yet even among previous meal kit consumers, nearly half report that lower costs would incentivize them to buy again, and over one-third of those polled said they’d return to purchasing meal kits if they could find them in their local grocery stores. This overlap between meal kit services and grocery stores points to an uncertain relationship meal kits will share with other food and beverage industry segments in the near future.
Can Meal Kit Delivery Viably Compete With Restaurants and Grocery Retailers?
What is certain is that the meal kit delivery industry will intersect with services provided by restaurants and grocery stores. Packaged Facts’ report, Meal Kits Delivery Services in the U.S., 2nd Edition, points to meal kit delivery's potential to disrupt both the restaurant industry and grocery industry, precisely because of the simplicity meal kits offer. The convenience that is so appealing to meal delivery consumers allows them to cook high-quality food without leaving home and shopping at the grocery store, leaving some grocers and food marketers worrying about the potential cut into their business, while other grocery retailers are trying instead to offer their own meal kit services and find a niche in the industry
The extent of disruption meal kit delivery services will cause in the food and beverage market remains to be seen. The chance of meal delivery’s long-term success, however, is much easier to anticipate. Based on the number of meal kit delivery services operating in the U.S., the almost certain entry of meal kit services from retailers and food marketers, and current number of meal shipments and growth rates reported by marketers, Packaged Facts projects healthy growth for the blossoming meal kit services industry.
More information on the meal kit delivery services industry can be found in the Packaged Facts report, Meal Kit Delivery Services in the U.S., 2nd Edition. You can also visit our 'Meal Kit Delivery Services' page, Packaged Facts' all-in-one resource on meal kit delivery.