There is a lot of buzz around meal kit delivery services, like Blue Apron and HelloFresh, but the buzz may be greater than those who currently use the kits, finds The NPD Group, a leading global information company. Trial of meal kits is still relatively low with 3 percent of the U.S. adult population (18 and older) trying a meal kit delivery service within the last year. There are, however, opportunities for growth, according to a new NPD Group study.
Saving time is the top reason given for using meal kits, which provide all of the ingredients necessary to prepare a meal. Consumers also cite the fact that it makes dinner easier to prepare and that they provide variety in their meals, finds NPD Group’s study, Thinking Inside the Box: A Fresh Look at Meal Kit Delivery Services. The freshness of ingredients and experience is particularly appealing to young adults using the kits. Those using meal kits are generally satisfied and two out of three kit users are extremely or very satisfied, but price may be a barrier for continued use and adoption by others.
Meal kits are typically used to replace an in-home dinner, but the cost of a kit is comparable to restaurant meal rather than an in-home dinner. The average cost per in-home dinner meal is $4, and the average cost per person for a meal kit delivered to the home is $10, reports the NPD Group study.
“The outlook for meal kits is uncertain since they’re still in their infancy stages and gaining trial among consumers,” says Darren Seifer, NPD Group’s food and beverage industry analyst. “One of the main concerns about these services is the cost. That said, there are opportunities for continued growth – for meal kit providers to market around the reasons their customers are satisfied, for manufacturers to get in the kit box, and for foodservice operators to leverage their ability to provide on demand delivery and meal variety.”