Planned, Prepared, and Delivered
Cooking has slowly been taken out of the home. It began in the 1950s with the rise of things like TV dinners and convenience meals offered by then-novel fast-food restaurants. It has continued to be outsourced, with more and more people choosing to dine out rather than eat in, but COVID-19 has changed all that. Irrevocably, perhaps. How Has the Situation Changed? Meal kits and meal prep is responsible for the change.
Meal prep services debuted to pretty decent acclaim and saw reliable growth. However, growth beyond a certain point was slow. That’s natural, considering that many people are slow to adapt to new trends, and many people dislike change. However, with the COVID-19 lockdowns, meal kit companies have seen dramatically accelerated growth.
Companies like HelloFresh are doing exceptionally well in Canada and around the world. Embattled Blue Apron saw its stock surge by 400% in the US market. Others sharing the rising tide include Plated, The Purple Carrot, and Green Chef, to name just a few.
Writing for Progressive Grocer, Thad Rueter points out that, “HelloFresh revenue increased some 66.4% year over year in the quarter ended March 31, reaching approximately $754.8 million. The total number of active HelloFresh customers worldwide increased by 4.18 million, a year over year increase of 68.4%.
What Is Fueling the Growth?
Many factors have contributed to the growth sustained by meal kit companies around the world, but none more so than COVID-19-related lockdowns.
- Lockdowns prevented people from patronizing their preferred restaurants as establishments first limited hours and then closed their doors.
- Lockdowns prevented people from going to the grocery store as often in a bid to social distance.
- Due to lockdowns, people’s sense of control over their own lives has eroded, leaving many to look at cooking for themselves as a way to re-exert some degree of autonomy.
- Lockdowns left many people at home with little or nothing to do. To pursue their interests, quite a few have turned to cooking.
Will This Growth Continue?
While there are signs that meal kit companies will continue to see some growth, there is no indicator of how long the growth will last. With that being said, the lockdowns in response to the pandemic certainly highlighted the need for services like HelloFresh and other meal kit providers. Because of that need, these companies will likely keep many of the customers they gained during the lockdowns and will continue to add new ones over time.
Meal Kits Are the Future of Cooking
It might seem like meal kits are really all about convenience, but that’s only half the equation. They deliver a broad range of benefits, all of which play into cementing their role in our society and making them the future of cooking for many people.
For instance, Harvard scientists believe that social distancing will last well into 2022. That means many people, particularly those with compromised immune systems and those at higher risk for COVID-19 due to other issues, will need to continue to limit their exposure to large groups. Meal kits provide a way to do that without sacrificing access to fresh, delicious foods.
Other benefits offered by these kits include:
- Creative Cooking: If you’ve been looking for a way to try creative dishes but lacked the confidence to try a recipe online or to go out on your own, meal kits give you the chance to do so with pre-packaged, pre-sorted ingredients.
- High-Quality: As the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns continues to be felt, more and more food waste occurs. It is becoming harder and harder to find fresh vegetables and meat at your local grocery store. Meal kits give you a simple, expedient solution to that challenge while ensuring access to high-quality food.
- Planned and Delivered: Finally, there’s the fact that meal kits save time, effort, and sanity. They eliminate the endless back and forth about planning meals for the upcoming week, cutting out at least some of your errands, and allow you more time doing what you love – spending time with your family.
Here to Stay
Ultimately, meal kits are here to stay, even if COVID-19 does end up being a temporary thing. Between the convenience, the ability to continue social distancing, and the chance to take advantage of delicious recipes and high-quality food, there are plenty of reasons for considering signing up.
Featured Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash