Meal kit delivery services have exploded over the past few years by bridging the space between home-cooked meals and takeout, according to Meal Kit Delivery Services in the U.S., a new report from market research publisher Packaged Facts.
The services offer a convenient way to cook at home without having to plan the meal and shop for groceries. Consumers order meals online, using picture menus that show beautiful photos of the finished dish, and the services deliver pre-measured fresh ingredients and recipes to their doorstep to help them cook chef-like meals at home.
Based on the number of meal kit delivery services around the country, the current numbers of meal shipments and growth rates claimed by marketers — and the almost certain entry of such services from retailers and food marketers — Packaged Facts expects the U.S. meal kit delivery services market will generate approximately $1.5 billion in sales in 2016 and grow to a multi-billion market during the next five years.
The Meal Kit Delivery Services report covers online meal kit delivery services, defined as companies that offer and deliver to consumers’ doors a box or bag of fresh ingredients for one or more meals, along with a step-by-step recipe with photos showing how to cook each meal at home. Excluded are services that deliver completely cooked heat-and-eat meals and services that deliver frozen foods.
Despite the positives, the growth of meal kit delivery services comes with a caveat for other segments of the food and beverage industry. Meal kit delivery services have the potential to disrupt both the restaurant industry and the grocery industry because consumers can cook restaurant-quality meals at home without going out to grocery shop.
“These days, consumers have access to almost everything without leaving their home and — through the power of smartphones — without even speaking to another human being. Rather than worrying whether meal kit delivery services will cut into their business, some grocers and food marketers are taking the bull by the horns and starting their own such services,” said David Sprinkle, research director of Packaged Facts.
The everything-in-a-box kits promise convenience by eliminating the need to plan meals, find recipes, and shop for groceries. Ingredients are portioned in just the right quantities for the recipe, and sometimes even prepped (pre-cut, marinated, packaged with pre-cooked sauce components, etc.) to speed and ease consumers’ time spent in the kitchen.