Meal-Kit Companies Are Gearing Up for Competition or Getting Out

On this episode of The Barron Report, Paul Barron interviews Brittain Ladd, a Supply Chain Management expert and Logistics Consultant for the world of meal kits.  

When the meal kit first came into existence, customers lined up to try this new and innovative system that fulfilled the desire for a high-quality meal without the restaurant price tag. Once the idea gained popularity, meal kit companies began popping up, claiming to have the best meal kit on the market. Slowly but surely, these companies starting shutting down as the market became oversaturated.

“The meal-kit industry is still the wild west. The industry is going through a lot of growing pains...,” says Brittain Ladd.

He believes one of the main reason these companies are unable to stay afloat is they just don’t have enough capital to keep going. One of the biggest challenges for the meal kit is the delivery model and its cost. Known in the restaurant industry as  “the last mile,” these start-ups are struggling to find a location that puts them close enough to a customer in order to keep costs down.

Bigger, established companies like Starbucks or Subway have the most distribution potential with access to resources, real estate, and capital.

Meal kits are a great product–unfortunately, they’re not enough to start a business. Brittain found that many founders of these companies did not have enough business expertise to evolve the idea into a full-fledged business. Consequently, companies faced the harsh reality of high cost-low retention. And although acquisitions may seem like the only light at the end of the tunnel, Brittain sees other opportunities for success.  

“If they’re not going to be acquired, they absolutely should be reaching out to restaurants chains and offering them a branded product or ask them to sell their meal kit exclusively in their store…,” says Ladd. Meal kit companies need to brainstorm a way to close the gap between the product and the consumer.

Listen to this episode of The Barron Report for more insights on the meal kit industry and his recommendations to founders in order to stay afloat!

SHOW NOTES

  • 12:33 Top 5 Companies To Watch

  • 15:34 Restaurants Co-utilizing Space and Meal-kit Delivery System

  • 18:10 Chef’d Biggest Flaw

  • 21:25 Misconceptions Of Success

  • 24:00 Fast Casual New Delivery Systems

  • 30:00 The Future of Meal Kits

  • 33:52 Deliver as Close to the Customer as Possible

  • 00:18 Introductions

  • 01:57 The Demise of Chef'd

  • 02:06 Current Status of the Meal Kit Industry

  • 04:23 Ready-to-eat Meal-Kit Development Ideas

  • 08:08 The Problem with the Meal-kit Industry as a Whole

  • 11:03 Convenience Stores as Distribution Points

 
 

HelloFresh and Grubhub Snatch Up Restaurant Customers

HelloFresh and Grubhub Snatch Up Restaurant Customers

Consumers today are looking to save time, money, and calories. And in trying to do that, it has completely changed how and where they eat. According to data from the USDA, at least 50% of U.S. food expenditures in 2014 we’re allocated towards food away from home. That number has steadily increased since they began collecting the data in 1929.

Additional USDA data shows that 62 percent of millennials surveyed in December 2017 reported purchasing prepared deli food, carry-out, delivery, or fast food within the last seven days.

Mostly fueled by trends to eat healthier meals in shorter amounts of time, consumers are more than willing to fork over some extra cash for convenience and time efficiency.

According to business insider, there is a massive unfulfilled market opportunity here.

“As of 2015, about $210 billion worth of food is ordered for delivery or takeout on an annual basis in the U.S., according to Morgan Stanley research. But two of the industry leaders, GrubHub/Seamless and Eat24, generated a combined $2.6 billion in food sales last year. This means the market is underpenetrated but massive, which will incentivize continued competition and, potentially, an influx of new entrants.”

Meanwhile, the meal kit industry has seen exactly that sort of influx. The meal kit industry was dominated by Blue Apron just one year ago. Now, though Blue Apron has managed to hold on to its lead internationally, their market share has more dropped more than 17 percent and now Hello Fresh has surpassed them as the largest meal kit company in the US. And other competitors like Home Chef and Sunbasket are now gobbling up those extra dollars.

But the overall popularity of meal kits is dipping. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that investors have all but abandoned the meal kits space. And data from Foodable Labs shows that all the top meal kit brands are showing decreases in their consumer sentiment ratings.

Still, the meal kit industry is a 1.5 billion dollar industry, and certain segments of our industry are heavily impacted by consumer crossover with meal kits and groceraunts. For example, 34.7% of fast casual customers also use meal kits or groceraunts, making them a direct competitor. QSR’s, on the other hand, are safest with only 12.3% crossover.

Check out the episode above and let us know what other data you want to see!

Read More

Blue Apron Faces Layoffs After Lukewarm IPO

Blue Apron Faces Layoffs After Lukewarm IPO

On Wednesday, Blue Apron announced it will be implementing “a company-wide realignment of personnel to support its strategic priorities.”

Since going public in June of this year, Blue Apron has been hard at work fixing operational issues in order to grow subscriber numbers and also please investors’ expectations.

As Foodable reported in August, the first quarter report for Blue Apron revealed a surprising $238 million in revenue, a disappointing $31.6 million in losses, and a decline in subscribers (from 1 million to 938,000 customers) leading to a drop in shares.

Since then, the company has been forced to shrink its marketing budget, laid off 14 recruiters and launched a podcast in an effort to become more of a lifestyle brand around home cooking.

Now, the meal-kit competitor is faced to lay off approximately 6 percent of its staff across both corporate offices and fulfillment centers—  that figure will “probably amount to more than 250 layoffs” according to “TechCrunch.”

Read More

Traditional Brand Cacique proves Authenticity is Trendy

On this episode of On Foodable Weekly: Industry Pulse, we see how long-standing brand, Cacique, is adapting in response to the millennial consumer, while still staying true to their identity.

Cacique has been at the forefront of authentic Mexican cuisine for over 40 years. Their traditional products like queso fresco and crema are staples of the brand.

“There’s certain old-world products that we make, like queso fresco, that.. you can’t touch it. Leave it alone, keep it authentic, right? But there’s a lot of other stuff that, it's a little more complicated, right? So they don’t want to have it ready to go, but they kind of want to have it, finish it at home, somewhat prepared, still authentic, not fully processed,” says Chris Iglesias, director of marketing innovation for Cacique.

This is why the brand is looking into different formats. Currently, Cacique has expanded into shredded and grated cheeses. According to Iglesias the brand is now also looking into meal kits— a trending segment currently dominated by Blue Apron. As kits gain traction, other companies are latching onto the movement. Knowing that many of their products are staples, Cacique is looking into combining some of their products to present to the consumer as a complete meal.

Cacique just recently launched a new product line— flavored cremas.

“We’ve been in the cream business or crema business for about 40 years. This will be the first time we go into flavors. So, we’re launching a jalapeño, cilantro lime and chipotle flavored cream and it’s coming in a squeeze platform,” says Iglesias.

The squeeze bottle is an important component to addressing customer needs. Not only is the squeeze bottle convenient, but it also keeps the crema fresher, longer.

Watch the episode above to learn more about the innovations Cacique is making in response to the millennial consumer!