- Meat kit company HelloFresh has launched 20-Minute Meals, according to a company statement. The new kits will cut down on prep-time and clean up, and are in addition to HelloFresh’s standard kits that require more user prep.
- The new recipes are in response to customer interest in quicker and simpler kits. Too much time spent chopping vegetables and cleaning dishes has been a common complaint.
- The 20-Minute Meals will include ready-made sauces, pre-chopped vegetables and fast-cook ingredients, like pre-made rice and fresh pasta. Recipes include steak and nectarine salad with arugula, pecans and feta cheese; butternut squash agnolotti with kale in a sage brown butter sauce; and sesame beef tacos with quick-pickled veggies and spicy crema.
The target audience for meal kits is millennial and Gen X consumers, who are 321% more likely to purchase a membership, according to Nielsen. The shortcuts offered in the 20-minute kit may appear to some consumers as value depreciation, but will likely be welcomed by the busy home cook who wants to spend less time in the kitchen. Simply put, if there wasn’t consumer demand for faster kits, the company wouldn’t be launching them.
Competitors like Blue Apron have not introduced similar reduced-time options yet. One smaller upstart, Gobble, was founded on the concept of simple, fast preparation. Each meal can be cooked in less than 15 minutes and only uses one pan. But its distribution is limited; it's only available in 31 states now.
HelloFresh’s latest launch is not just a response to consumer complaints. It’s also an attempt to retain customers. Research has found that 90% of customers drop out within the first six months of a meal kit membership.
Home delivery meal kits are facing increased competition from grocery stores and Amazon. Kroger and Publix now offer their own branded meal kits. Amazon filed a trademark application for prepared food earlier this year and started selling the kits on a test basis in a few markets. If the online giant offers take-home kits at Whole Foods in the future, it could be an industry game changer. HelloFresh’s faster meals may help them stay relevant amid this increased competition. However, it remains to be seen how HelloFresh can keep chopped ingredients fresh, since the company's meals arrive in a big box delivered weekly.
There has been no official word on the price of the new 20-Minute Meals, but they’ll likely follow the same structure of HelloFresh’s original plan at about $10 a serving. If these new kits are a success, expect to see competitors like Blue Apron follow suit.