Now, not only has Amazon has joined the club, but restaurants and grocery stores are claiming catered versions of “meal kits” as well. Here are just a few examples:
- Midwest-based grocery chain Hyvee has positioned its in-store deli/restaurant as a house made meal solution.
- Chick-fil-A has started billing its Family Style Meals as meal kits, offering entrees, sides, and rolls in one easy package that is prepped to feed four. Whether you want to interpret it as a meal kit or not, it is an all-in-one decision for mealtime, with the prep taken care of by someone else.
- Coca-Cola has reportedly entered into a partnership with Chef’d to do beverage pairings offered in conjunction with the meal kits. This means Coke products, including Dasani and Gold Peak brands, could add another piece of the menu to the meal kit service.
Food Industry Feels the Pinch, Too
This whole idea is also a threat to some of the traditional ways the food industry operates. Big distributors are already feeling pinched as the internet cuts out the middleman and stores and restaurant operators are able to order direct from the producer. Now, even bundling takes on a new approach, since meal kits don’t necessarily have to mean one family at a time!
The meal kit business has been estimated as high as $5 billion in sales, which proves that both the threat to established business, and the opportunity for new and interesting convenience for the consumer, may well be ahead.
For perspective, think about it this way: a meal kit is essentially a short cut. It’s a way of putting meal components together in one place for you to handle the final prep and cooking so that the meal is “fresh.”
The expanded definition now gaining attention is a throwback to take out services—where you simply unwrap the components of a meal, fully cooked, and lay it out.
Meal kits started as a way to make cooking easier. That principle is beginning to morph into ways to make it easier to eat, from (excuse the pun) choosing the meal, all the way to chewing the meal.
*For an excellent review of your options, check out this Forbes article.