The Meal-Delivery/Meal-Kit Business
The online meal-delivery, or meal-kit, business has exploded over the past few years, with companies popping up all over the internet. Meal kits can be found to fit just about any dietary need—from full meal planning that takes up to an hour of prep, such as blueapron.com, to fully prepped sliced-and-diced meal systems, such as TheChateauAtHome.com, to meal-shake or blender systems, such as daily-harvest.com, and many more. These meal-kit systems are ordered online and shipped to your doorstep via FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service and will only grow in the coming years as millennials look for new technologies and meal systems to fit their lifestyles. What does this mean for grocery-store businesses? Well, perhaps they will fill their aisles with many varieties of meal-kit systems, making themselves the middlemen retailers that distribute such products to the end consumer, or perhaps grocery stores will be replaced by local farmers’ markets that cater to their micro-communities. Regardless of the many possibilities, two facts are certain: (1) many more meal kits will come, and (2) the grocery-store chain business will be disrupted, just as brick and mortar retailers were with the coming of Amazon.com and other online consumer-goods retailers.
One Size Fits All?
Currently, there is no one-stop-shop for the meal-delivery, or meal-kit, business. This market is very niche driven and will likely continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Perhaps a new term will better suit our understanding of where the meal-kit business is heading: micro food systems. These benefit the end consumer through the focus on executing specific niche-food categories with local sustainable farming and on ultimately eluding the one-size-fits-all business model of large food retailers. In fact, the number of meal-kit businesses is more than likely to increase into the thousands as local community eateries enter the space to serve their clientele both at brick-and-mortar locations and at consumers’ homes. What is the exact intent of The Chateau at Home? We wish to serve a limited customer base that frequents our restaurant and is looking for an extended experience in their own homes. Additionally, we want to serve customers who cannot frequent The Chateau due to geographic location. The Chateau At Home meal-kit system started off with a much larger, more national approach through PlatePrep.com—only to be refocused as a more local program. We extended our Chateau brand from the restaurants into the home, creating a more intimate meal system. Our clients get the benefits of fresh, local, sustainable foods. The Chateau gets to be first in our clients’ minds when it comes to healthy eating, whether at home or in our restaurant.
TOP MEAL SITES
If you’re looking for a meal system that The Chateau At Home does not offer, here are some other sites you may want to consider.
Blue Apron Inc. is an American ingredient-and-recipe meal kit service. It exclusively operates in the United States. The weekly boxes contain ingredients and also include suggested recipes that must be cooked by hand by the customer using the pre-ordered ingredients.
Plated is an American ingredient-and-recipe meal kit service that has been acquired by Albertsons. The company was founded in 2012 and became well-known through its participation in Techstars in 2013, Shark Tank in 2014 and Beyond the Tank in 2015.
Home Chef is a Chicago, Illinois-based meal kit and food delivery company that delivers pre-portioned ingredients and recipes to subscribers weekly in the United States. According to the company it delivers three million meals monthly to its subscribers.
- HellowFresh.comHelloFresh SE is an international publicly traded meal-kit company based in Berlin, Germany. It is the largest meal-kit provider in the United States, and also has operations in Canada, Western Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. It has been listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since its IPO in November 2017.
Sun Basket is a San Francisco-based subscription meal delivery service that ships members fresh organic and sustainable ingredients and recipes every month, allowing them to cook their own meals. It is part of the growing meal kit segment.
Diet-to-Go is a privately held company that was founded in 1991 by Hilton Davis. Diet-to-Go is a service that offers a national diet delivery food product and local food pickup meals. The company was formed originally as a local diet delivery company in Virginia
PlatePrep.com is a privately held company and a subsidiary of BL Chateau, LLC. PlatePrep offers five-star romantic meal kits focused on the East Coast. While the company does ship throughout the United States, shipping can get expensive to areas outside the East Coast. The most unique benefit of PlatePrep.com is the simplicity of its meal kits. You’ll need just fifteen minutes from box to plate for dinners that you would find in award-winning kitchens. PlatePrep.com operates locally in the Adirondacks as TheChateauOnTheLake.com. Be sure to review the wine pairings and the dinner party in a box.