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During the pandemic, we were all inspired to cook at home again. Many of us had given up everything from sourdough bread to Dalgona whipped coffee. Meal kit sales increased almost 25 percent during the first year of the pandemic. HelloFresh has been cooking with gas for the past couple of years. HelloFresh’s revenue increased more than 20% over the same quarter last year. Inflation has had a negative impact on the company.
However, the company has avoided increasing its food costs, which has allowed it to keep its customer base. HelloFresh’s top line numbers look good, but one metric is not so hot. Customer acquisition is a key indicator.
The company has been relying more on referral marketing since last quarter. According to grocery dive, the company’s customer base grew by almost five percent last quarter, the lowest rate since the beginning of the pandemic.
Customers who refer others to their business receive discounts on their own orders. It’s also boosting digital marketing and providing more customization options. Hello’s new custom allows customers to replace one protein or side with a better one. Because of this, no more arguments over chicken breasts versus pork chops. They are also focusing on increased productivity and investing in automation to improve service.
Blue Apron is keeping customers hungry for more with a few new offerings. To make life simpler, the company’s new ready-to-cook options do all the prep work for you. Every ingredient slice is diced, chopped, and portioned so that it can be thrown in a pan or pot to be cooked. You can also buy microwaveable meals prepared by Blue Apron that are ready to eat.
In June, Blue Apron became the first meal kit service to be sold on Walmart dot com. As inflation has caused discomfort for consumers and has caused most people to return to their busy lives, they are looking for bargains at the grocery store.
There are several causes for meal kit services to suffer. As noted by the Washington Post, step-by-step instructions on laminated cards may have also contributed to their demise. As the article says, ‘give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, but teach him to cook a fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime. And he probably doesn’t require step-by-step instructions anymore.’
To compensate, meal kit service providers are enhancing their convenience, customizability, and other creative twists. They hope to draw in new customers and keep them coming back for more.
Although meal kits are obviously appealing due to their convenience, the real issue is whether people can continue to stomach the premium for a box of ingredients.
What do you think of those ready to cook food companies? Let us know down in the comments.