Meal prep is another story. Contrary to what you see on Instagram, not everyone’s a home chef during a pandemic. Many families are recycling the same meals and struggling to create something new that will satisfy every member of the household.
These extraordinary times have seen shoppers turn to meal kits, boosting the momentum of companies like Blue Apron, HelloFresh, Freshly, Home Chef, and Purple Carrot. Even restaurants like Chick-fil-A and Denny’s have meal kits on their menus.
There has to be a way that grocery stores can create meal kits that can be ordered day of delivery/pick-up, are less expensive than subscription meal kits, and offer something that traditional meal kits cannot.
Grocery stores know there is value in meal kits Kroger, for example, bought meal kit company Home Chef in 2018 for an estimated $200 million and sells various prep levels of meal kits in 2,000 of its stores.
The solution for grocers isn’t necessarily to purchase a meal kit company. Let’s look at some ways local grocery stores can leverage this trend, and take a customer-first approach.
Value pricing. Traditional meals kits are pricey — around $12-14 per person. For economically stressed families, that’s not sustainable. Offer kits at a flat fee, with taxes and delivery included. In the long run, this can save families money by not having to buy every ingredient separately, and reduce waste.
Make subscription-based kits an offering, but not mandatory.
Express pick-up experience. Today, shoppers are looking to spend as little time in the store as possible. Why even step foot in the store? Create a drive-through experience in the parking lot where customers purchase already prepared meals. Before exiting, there’s an impulse-buy area with snacks and treats.
Make the drive-through experience themed for various times of the year and holidays, like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Customized offerings. People eat three meals a day and snack a bunch. What if there was a Tuesday kit that had food for breakfast, lunch and dinner — and two snacks for those times of the day when people get hangry?
Take it a step further with in-store displays, color-coded by day, adults vs. children, and meal. Allow users a mix between preparing meals and heat and eat.
Meal kit is an industry name. Why not offer a kit for the way we really eat: Food For A Day. Bundle offerings for an entire day to make life easy for heads-of-households.
Food adventures. Offer kits ranging from back to basics, exciting/adventurous to special dietary needs like gluten-free, vegetarian, or a kit of just healthy snacks.
It’s time to help consumers focus on what’s really important: family time.