The pandemic has certainly done a number on businesses everywhere, but there are some who were uniquely poised to shine – like home meal kit brands. And now home meal kits have many competitors crowding the market, keeping brands like Blue Apron and Freshly on their toes.
- Compare what the home kit meal market looks like now vs a year ago
- Explore how identifying emerging trends keeps a brand on-point and ahead of the competition
- Dive into the top meal kit providers and what consumers are saying – and why it matters
And we have some supporting stats and interesting facts to supplement our research, such as:
- 75% of consumers have altered the way they shop since the pandemic, including changing up the brands they buy
- Hello Fresh market shares are up 180%, which is a sign of the times
- A study found that a $22 meal out costs about half that to make at home – and with meal kits costing less than that, dine-out restaurants have significant competition.
Home Meal Kit Market
The home meal market is booming – and more so since the pandemic. And studies show that the market is expected to reach 7.63 billion by 2024.
Market research reveals what the conversation is around home meal kits to better understand this growing phenomenon.
The clusters below show named segments directly connected to home meal kits. Hello Fresh Market Shares is our most sizable mention with their stocks up by 180% . And the cluster New Cook/Old Cook largely discusses adapting to cooking at home during the pandemic and how it may be here to stay. Each area is fully clickable, instantly connecting you to articles on your topic and its various inner workings.
We can view these spatially as well, with our timeline revealing segments of interest, their growth and decline, while illustrating emerging trends in media.
Hello Fresh had big spikes in August, September and then again in October. And The New Restaurant Dining had been steady, but recently is waning, while Post Covid Food Struggles is growing:
But sometimes what’s in the media doesn’t follow what consumers are talking about, which is why viewing which segments have the highest social engagement is vital to understanding the full picture. Our bar chart shows just that.
The more obvious home meal kit categories show little engagement when compared to our top two. However, The New Restaurant Dining, our waning category in media, is socially significant, with talk around new ways to eat out:
This informs brands around where they need to focus their efforts. Consumers will tell you what they want, if you know how to listen. Whether it’s affordability or healthier meal options, they’re posting about it.
A McKinsey report found that 75% of consumers have tried new brands or shopping methods during the pandemic, due to lack of supply or variety. Identifying emerging trends can keep brands in the know, so they don’t lose out on these emerging markets.
Emerging Home Meal Kit Trends
Knowing where to find your consumers is critical, and using consumer intelligence can help locate them and their picky appetites.
Our scatterplot below shows how each story within our cluster is being received by the people. For example, the areas garnering the most attention are about variety – from customizable hummus and African food to copycat recipes of favorite quick serve items. These could each present an opportunity for home meal kits. Another article stands out about homeless housing – how does that fit in?
52% of U.S. consumers consider company values into their purchase – so is social responsibility a food trend? You bet your bottom bouillon cube it is! And though not directly food related, it sits high on social engagement and consumers’ priority lists. Having a tool which can identify these key issues is critical.
Another article of interest and high social interaction is a bit boozier. Carryout DIY cocktails anyone? This could be a fresh idea for home meal kits to incorporate. After all, Drizly has been doing it and has raised over $68 million….
Now that we know how to locate emerging trends, let’s use some competitive intelligence to listen in and see how a few of the top home meal kit competitors measure up.
Consumer intelligence breaks down how Freshly, Home Chef, Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Every Plate compare to one another. We’ve used filters Taste, Quality, Freshness and Customer Service as markers.
Hello Fresh clearly wins out in Freshness and Quality, while Freshly captures the heart of customer service, and it’s a tie between Home Chef and Every Plate on all fronts. Blue Apron is evenly keeled with both Freshness and Quality.
Let’s explore a little deeper into each of these brands!
Our timeline is filtered by sentiment with a few key articles sticking out. Understanding how your consumers feel about you is vital, as consumer emotions play a critical role in the success of a business.
For positive sentiment around Hello Fresh, consumers’ favorite meals stand out. And we see neutral sentiment around someone looking for good vegetarian options. This is an opportunity for brands to boost their variety.
Also key, is knowing where brands are being mentioned. Each colored bar of our chart is a different segment of conversation around Freshly. The social media platforms are listed, pinpointing exactly where consumers are talking and what they’re talking about.
On Reddit, Meals are Delivered comes in #1, while Chicken Tikka, an emerging trend, is fighting back in 2nd. In fact, it’s fighting back on Tumblr and on blogspots too. Consistent monitoring will tell over time if this continues:
Clicking through articles, this one shows why consumers prefer one meal kit over another. Every Plate gets high marks for the same taste and quality as Hello Fresh but at a fraction of the cost. This is a valid point, as studies found that a $22 meal out would cost only $12 dollars to make at home.
Exploring further, and our word cloud creates a rounded view of Every Plate. Clicking on Plate brings us to these outstanding reviews praising the company for the appearance, price and meatless options. These might have been missed if not for the ability to click through and find the meaning behind the words. It’s about having the right consumer intelligence . . .
Combining Quid Social with NetBase Enterprise gives us the best of both worlds. Here in the bar chart, we have top conversations around Blue Apron. In the category, Blue Apron Recipe, Peppers are of interest:
And it connects to this customer who is happy with hers from Blue Apron:
It looks as if a possible influencer has been spotted here! Researching, we find that @clammyheart has over 49K followers. Maybe Blue Apron could take advantage of the power of an influencer and capture some well-placed brand awareness? Social listening opens the door to so much potential, it really just depends on brand need.
What does your brand need? A powerful consumer intelligence tool? The ability to spot emerging trends and/or possible influencers? We have it all and much more. Reach out for a demo and we’ll take your for a tour of capabilities specific to whatever you seek!