Not a good cook? Don’t know what to eat for dinner? Too busy to buy fresh vegetables and meats? Well, the solution is now delivered at your doorstep.
Meal-delivery Services are surging in popularity, retailers like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Plated surface to deliver fresh vegetables and meats to create your own meals at home with their well-designed recipes.
As a leading meal-kit service provider, HelloFresh, a Germany-based company, is founded by MasterChef finalist Tom Rutledge. It has already made its appearance in several Western European and North American countries, as well as Australia since official operation in December 2011. Tom Rutledge’s agricultural heritage inspired him to offer this farm-to-table experience for busy commuters, combining fresh, quality ingredients with simple cooking ideas. According to its website, HelloFresh has shipped over a million meals per month in its covered area. Not to mention, the company more than quadrupled sales last year to 70 million euros. Moreover, it is a purely independent business model that relies on large-scale customer fulfillment center for centralized storage, picking up and distribution.
How does it work?
You start to order meal-kit box at least one week in advance. Every week a box of ingredients for the entire week are packed and delivered to you. Essentially every meal will be equipped with the necessary proportioned food in insulated packages, even spices such as curry powder, rosemary and ginger will be contained, along with recipe cards, which allow users to replicate the dishes by simply following the detailed instructions to prepare and cook. Besides, its membership plan varies from two-person to family-size plan with a compact three-meal or five-meal per week, while Hellofresh also supplies separate vegetarian boxes as well as fruit boxes for special dietary requirements.
Even though meal-kit services are unlike restaurant delivery that you still have to prepare the meals, you are saving loads of time from grocery shopping and recipe searching. More importantly, given the fact that Hellofresh will only serve right amount of what you need for specific recipe, there will be no food residual to worry about.
Cooking with fresh ingredients is what Hellofresh is promoting to their users. As their dedicated team of chefs and dietitians create recipes on a weekly basis to ensure that the meals they prepared are balanced and wholesome. The default recipes have always been considered as HelloFresh’s one of the most critical competitiveness. When speaking of designing recipes, Hellofresh lacks information about users ‘tastes or preferences, therefore, it decides mass default recipes which apply for all users, without taking users’ individual preference into account (Goldstein et al, 2008). However, Hellofresh has covered seven countries across West Europe, North America and Australia, it adjusts recipes according to geographic custom. Nevertheless, HelloFresh also forces its users to accept set meals for a week without actively engaging users to pick recipes. On the other hand, default recipes may increase the risk that HelloFresh users will skip weeks of subscribe in case they don’t favor the food.
One thing worth mentioning is that HelloFresh partnered with Jamie Oliver in 2015, a British celebrity chef, to design recipes aiming to stress the importance of healthy and fresh meal other than food takeaway. Their collaboration delivers users with a wider variety of alternatives yet creative recipes and encouraging them to cook from scratch while enjoying their thoughtful recipes.
In light of HelloFresh’s large distribution network, huge expense is inevitable. In order to take advantage of their idle logistics, improving transportation efficiency and reducing the cost of warehouse, Hellofresh could consider to expand its customers base to wholesales like supermarkets, cafés and snack bar to deliver fresh uncooked food. Both the company and the third party could benefit from open logistics and gain profitability. Additionally, not only to offer adults’ meals, Hellofresh could also target at the market of infant food for time-pressed parents wanting to provide their babies with notorious and freshly prepared meal.
Goldstein, D.G., Johnson, E.J., Herrmann, A., & Heitmann, M. (2008). Nudge your customers toward better choices. Harvard Business Review, 86(12), 99-105.