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Why Are Consumers so Hungry for Meal Kit Delivery Services?

by Mark Pivinski
April 22, 2019

Meal kit delivery companies, such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh, make it easy for people to cook high quality meals at home. Customers get new recipes that they might not have thought of before, and the perfect amount of each ingredient that they need to cook the meal. The subscription pricing model makes it easy for consumers and provides the companies with recurring revenue.

Blue Apron and HelloFresh have achieved incredible growth and recently gone public. This is new competition for established food companies and supermarket chains, but also an exciting new opportunity.

The winners in this competitive market will need to be laser focused on customer preferences, so we ran some tests on Alpha’s on-demand insights platform to discover what users like and dislike about meal kit delivery services.

Bon Appétit: Consumers dig in to food subscriptions

In our tests with 337 people ages 18 to 44 who have used a meal-kit or food delivery service, opinions of meal kit and food delivery services are overwhelmingly positive.

89% of respondents have a “positive” or “extremely positive” opinion of food subscriptions. Very few have a negative, or even neutral, opinion. This was a positive indicator, so we dug deeper to understand what consumers like and dislike about the services and why.

Consumers are sweet on convenience, sour on price

Out tests validate a variety of value propositions that meal delivery services provide. Users most commonly acknowledge convenience as the most significant benefit.

Convenience factors include the ease of recipe instructions and getting the right amount of each ingredient. Here’s what one user said about the convenience:

“I think the best thing about it is that it saves me time and frustration in knowing I won’t be wasting ingredients that weren’t needed in the meal and won’t likely be used in anything else I cook anytime soon. I hate wasting food and I hate trying to come up with new recipes on my own.”

Users also appreciate getting a variety of meals, high quality ingredients, and healthy meals.

In terms of pain points and reasons not to use meal delivery kits, users cite pricing and packaging. “Not only is it overpriced, but it typically comes with a lot of waste (the packaging and all the materials used to keep things cool in transit)”, one user said. The convenience of getting the perfect amount of every ingredient comes at the cost of requiring extra packaging. Users are concerned that this may not be great for the environment.

HelloFresh. “It’s What’s for Dinner.”

Consumers like HelloFresh best of all meal kit and food delivery services. Blue Apron was a close second.

Services that deliver uncooked meals, such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh, outperformed services that deliver cooked meals, such as Freshly, by a large margin. This may be in part because uncooked meal kits generally have a lower price point than cooked meals.

We segmented responses by age and noticed that in older segments, preference for HelloFresh decreases while preference for Home Chef increases.

What’s the appetite for eco-friendly packaging?

Equipped with these insights, innovators in the food delivery market have direction on how to improve their offering and opportunities for further testing. Meal kit delivery customers care most about convenience, price, and, to our surprise, packaging.

Innovators can use Alpha to further explore how packaging could set them apart from the competition. How important is packaging to consumers? Will it ease the burden of the cost of the service? How can you improve your packaging? Is HelloFresh a market leader because they offer eco-friendly packaging?

These are all questions that Alpha’s on-demand insights platform can provide answers to within hours. Further, Alpha’s designer network can turn a packaging concept idea into a mockups that you can tested with real people. Request a demo below to get started.

Mark Pivinski

As a Sales Strategist at Alpha, Mark helps clients rapidly explore new markets, validate growth opportunities, and build better products faster.