Meal-Kit Deliveries Are Gaining Popularity in the U.S., More Such Companies Emerging

By Staff Writer

Mar 11, 2016 08:24 AM EST

Meal-kit delivery companies have been booming especially  in the U.S. for the past couple of years. The country is seeing more companies dedicating themselves to deliver food ingredients into people's front door.

Although the menus, prices, and qualities vary among meal-kit delivery companies, most of them focus on raw ingredients. Instead of delivering ready-to-eat foods, meal-kit companies prepared the ingredients, packed and measured before delivered.

Customers can choose the recipe they want to cook, wait on the delivery, then do it themselves with the recipe and ingredients prepared by the companies. In addition to the prepared ingredients, meal-kit delivery companies will also send over the step-by-step recipe for the ordered meal. To cook the recipe, customers will have to use their own cooking utensils, and only a few companies provided basic ingredients such as salt and pepper. Other companies offer cooked food that only needs to be heated.

Courier-Post listed some popular meal-kit delivery companies in the U.S., mentioning Home Appétit which focus on healthy food and local products, Freshology which aims to help consumers lose weight, Mod Paleo which delivers paleo meals, Green Chef which delivers organic meals, and The Purple Carrot which delivers vegan meal kits designed by former New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman.

Green Chef CEO Michael Joseph told Courier-Post that ordering meal-kit delivery may be more work than simply ordering takeout, but he has found customers want the experience of making a healthy meal at home, but with the convenience provided by the delivery service. Also, compared to eating out in a restaurant, the meals prepared by meal-kit delivery companies are also cheaper. "We really thought there was something to this outsourcing of planning, having people have healthy, easy-to-make meals at home," he added.

Even though the industry has been growing rapidly in the past years, companies still face several challenges, as noted by The Journal Gazette. Inevitably, shipping uncooked and raw food ingredients poses more challenge, especially to locations outside of cities. Securing funds from increasingly tight-fisted investors is also one of the challenges. With the growing competition, holding on to customers is also getting more challenging. 

According to The Press Enterprise, people around the world spent $1.5 billion on meal-kits. Less than half of that came from the U.S., as the market in the country is expected to grow faster than any other country, especially in the next five years. By 2020, the market size is estimated to be as much as $6 billion.

Meal-kit deliveries have been gaining more popularity in recent years, especially because they offer convenience but healthy and more affordable food to cook by yourself. More companies with similar services are emerging to the markets with varying approach, menu, specialty, and focus. 

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