Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Value of Convenience in Cooking

I’ve never been a fan of cooking, so I certainly never expected to write about it. But to my surprise, here I am, writing about cooking.

This is because I’ve recently become curious about these new meal-kit delivery services that purport to make cooking quick and easy. To my disbelief, they even purport to make cooking fun

There are several companies that offer meal-kit delivery services. Some of the more familiar are Blue ApronHello FreshPlatedSun Basket, and Home Chef. Their concept is simple: Consumers select the meals they want for the week and they receive in the mail easy-to-follow directions and fresh, pre-portioned ingredients. They are then able to cook meals that are quick, easy, healthy, and tasty. 

While the concept is simple, it ultimately addresses something highly sought after by consumers all over the U.S. — convenience. At an average cost per plate of $10, these delivery services don’t run cheap. Yet the convenience factor is so powerful that it has caused consumers to eat the idea up (pun intended).

The first meal-kit delivery services — Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Plated — were launched in the United States in 2012. There are now more than 100 meal-kit delivery services in the U.S. How big is this business? In 2015, meal-kit delivery services as a whole reportedly generated $1 billion in revenue. The business is expected to generate $10 billion by 2020. In terms of the number of consumers, a study conducted in 2017 found that 9% of U.S. consumers (or 10.5 million households) had purchased a meal kit in the previous six months. And 25% of U.S. consumers (or more than 30 million households) indicated they would consider trying one in the next six months.

Giving consumers the tools to make healthy, tasty, and — most important — convenient meals was a simple idea that, so far, has achieved big results. I think it might be an idea even I — someone who dislikes cooking — can get on board with. I plan to join those 30 million households and give the idea a try. Perhaps I’ll even have fun doing it.

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