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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Everyone’s talking about food kits

There’s still plenty of room to manoeuvre in the rapidly evolving meal kit market. Here are five potential recipes for success, courtesy of Louise Kennedy

Louise Kennedy
Strategy Director
Brandon Consultants

Following the success of subscription food services (Hello Fresh and Gousto) and people now wanting the out-of-home dining experience in-home; retailers and food manufacturers have been busy looking for tantalising new ways to deliver something that hits the same sweet spot at a more accessible price point.

There is no doubt this trend will continue to grow and evolve over the next few years but beyond a lot of NPD being pushed out into the market, what is the main driver for their popularity and where are the untapped opportunities?

We are creatures of habit and cognitive misers  

We operate like robots and struggle to change our in-home eating habits, with our copy and paste weekly dining rituals. According to Mintel, 62 percent of us claim to eat the same meals most weeks and 44 percent of us agree it is difficult to think of different meals to cook. Essentially, we stick to what we know, and it is mentally taxing to think of something different!

meal kit

But we still aspire to be Nigella Lawson… 

We enjoy watching cooking programmes, eating out, following foodies on Instagram and buying the latest recipe books. Food kits make it easy for people to try something different and feel like they have been involved in the process.

We see 5 big untapped opportunities for this area in the short/medium term:

• Frozen – The frozen category has been pretty slow at getting onto this trend and, to be honest, we are unsure why. Maybe they are just late to the party and not sure what difference they can add at this stage or supply chain makes it unfeasible? The move to more plant based food in our diet and benefits of frozen fruit and veg play into there being a much bigger opportunity than we are seeing so far.

• Breakfast – a huge occasion but late to offering something exciting in this territory. Is it not a meal people really want involvement in on the whole? Pepsico in the US have attempted something with the Quaker Morning Go-Kit but nothing this side of the pond yet.

• Subscription services from mainstream brands – from coffee, pasta, gin, flowers, spices and healthier snacks, there are an abundance of premium subscription services available. So is there just not enough demand or margin in it for mainstream brands to deliver something similar? A tea range from Pukka, monthly chocolate delivery from Cadburys, family biscuit barrel selection from McVities, Schwartz spices.

• Drinks (we are thinking specifically cocktails) – How can the meal kit idea spread into drinks and specifically drinks where it is quite hard to replicate the out-of-home experience in-home. We would love to see cocktail kits to help us make the perfect Mojito in the comfort of our own homes. Cocktail kits in the fresh aisle would certainly be a revelation and make it more interesting to walk down! A DelMonte and Bombay Sapphire tie-up?. Why not?

• The Half-Way Meal Kit – How can there be an element of customisation without the need for a full meal kit!? We see some brands starting to do this but where could it add value further? Watmuff & Beckett risotto pots come with a small satchet of roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds. How can soups and sauces play into this trend further? An added range of twists to take your food to the next level. Funghi mushroom in your spag bol anyone?

We will watch this space with bated breath!

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