Pandemic has given meal kits a boost

New research shows the pandemic has given meal kits a boost with consumers turning to them as shopping visit frequency drops.

As early as April 2020, nearly half of UK consumers were limiting the amount of time they were spending in stores.

 Frazzled cooks, tasked with preparing more home-cooked meals, also sought inspiration and relief from food preparation.

There are many challenges, however, that meal kit delivery brands must overcome to keep their popularity beyond the pandemic. 

Whilst consumers are interested in the concept, these kits are sold at a significant price premium, making the service inaccessible to lower-income households.

As we are now in the midst of the most severe economic recession in nearly a century, subscription companies will have to offer more than basic convenience and shift the perception of value to retain customers.

Asides from price, threats to meal subscription services comes from the fact that soon, consumers will learn to live fuller lives alongside the threat of COVID-19.

The upturn in online shopping will be a legacy of the pandemic, but the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines, the eventual easing of lockdown measures and the sheer fatigue of living lives behind closed doors will mean that consumers will become bolder eventually and will return to the supermarkets again.

There are a number of strategies meal subscription companies can adopt to add value though and gain a more favourable perception of their price positioning.

Here are two:

Make ‘easy’ an easier option

While the idea of easy prep and instructions defines the category, there is room for operators to expand offerings to include even easier options, answering consumer demand for convenience without a sacrifice in quality.

Use kits to connect people as they keep their distance

With guidance around meeting up with individuals outside our immediate households ever-changing, there is a growing opportunity for product solutions that connect people.

Meal kit marketers can highlight the idea that the step-by-step cooking process they provide makes them ideal as a shared experience among family or friends, whether the sharing is done in person or virtually.

A growing need for collective experiences is observed amongst those who are now working from home permanently/more frequently and who can no longer socialise over work drinks/dinner in person.

Outside of these opportunities, there are other ways brands can attempt to embed themselves into consumers’ weekly routines in 2021.

We have observed brands targeting new consumer groups, such as young children to help parents teach them cooking skills, and other brands focusing on additional eating opportunities such as breakfast, lunch or snacks for those working from home.

Providing desserts and home baking kits is also another avenue for exploration.

But whilst the pandemic has given meal kits a boost, it remains a challenging territory, particularly with the continued growth of restaurant food which has been born out of the pandemic.

If you’d like to find out more about how I’ve been helping clients in the post-COVID food and drink world, take a look at Food Brand Strategist.

And take a look at BoomBod as an example of my work.

And to explore how I can help you launch a new food idea to capitalise in the growth of delivered meal kits, ping an email so we can schedule a call.

Last Updated on 17/03/2023 by Eddie Stableford

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