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Meal Kits Gain Popularity As Food Delivery Options During Coronavirus

March 24, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Shutterstock_1459827464  View Looking Out From Inside Of Refrigerator As Woman Unpacks Online Home Food Delivery

The popularity of meal kits has waxed and waned over the last several years, but the Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency has shoppers who are stuck at home turning to meal kits as an easy alternative to hitting the grocery store every few days. Recently, Blue Apron stocks soared more than 529%. Other meal kit brands have noticed similar spikes and are now recalibrating to meet new demand. 

The U.S Food & Drug Administration (FDA) communicated that COVID-19 cannot be spread via food. Nevertheless, meal kits are tackling consumer concerns head on: “The health and well being of our customers and employees is our highest priority,” said a spokesperson from Hello Fresh. “To that end, we have implemented additional safety measures, such as more frequent hand washing and sanitation of our facilities, along with limited access to our production site.”

Many meal kits already offer discounts on first orders, and the brand with the most attractive deal may be in the best position while consumers figure out their needs during self-isolation.

Sun Basket Is A Great Option For Vegetarians 

Sun Basket heavily relies on vegetables for its non-vegetarian meals and is a great choice for subscribers who only want veggie meals or who have dietary restrictions like celiac or diabetes. Subscribers who live in mixed-diet households can order from any of the speciality Sun Basket menus, satisfying the meat-eaters and tofu fans alike. 

Sun Basket’s marketing strategy relies heavily on happy food pictures on Instagram and their company blog, which often features brand insiders sharing lifestyle insights. Sun Basket also boasts sustainable, organic meals with meat and fish sourcing partnerships emphasizing good environmental practices. Sun Basket has been lowkey during the Coronavirus crisis, but the company offers a crisis-related update on their website and posted briefly on Instagram of their intention to stay open and continue fulfilling offers.

One Potato Offers Smaller Portions For Kids 

Girl holding One Potato Box meal kit Photo from Instagram

Meal kits can be tricky with younger kids. No one wants to waste food or money, so the larger portions and offerings of other meal kit types often are not the right fit for families with little ones. One Potato’s marketing skews heavily toward family meal prep and dinnertime, offering smaller portions for kids and meals that can be assembled quickly for busy families. Like most other meal kit brands, One Potato emphasizes their healthful, organic ingredients. One Potato has a partnership with the Los Angeles Mission, giving the leftovers from meal preparation to the L.A. homeless shelter the homeless are a particularly vulnerable group during the Coronavirus crisis. 

One Potato’s response to Coronavirus has been similar to other brands who seem to prefer Instagram for communications under normal circumstances, and they have continued using the social media channel during Coronavirus isolation. One Potato continues to focus on their convenience for families, encouraging people to stay in and make meals together.

EveryPlate Is An Affordable Option For Meal Kits

Many consumers lost interest in meal kits after the initial excitement a few years ago, because the economics didn’t make sense. EveryPlate solves for that with many meals priced at $4.99 per serving, as opposed to other brands where the cost can range from $9 to $12. Although the ingredients may be simpler and not necessarily organic, meals can be spruced up with pantry items, according to a review by The Kitchn, a website for foodies. EveryPlate has an active and vocal Facebook community, which is where the meal kit brand has shared its plan for shoppers who are self-isolating right now. 

Whether for vegetarians, families or shoppers on a budget, meal kits can be convenient options during this difficult time. As with other companies adjusting to increased demand during this crisis, many meal kit brands are seeing self isolation as an opportunity to impress new customers. “The longer this lasts, the less people will settle for frozen pizzas and reheated pasta — bolstering the case for Blue Apron and similar,” said Jim Hull, Senior Industry Strategy Director at digital-fulfillment platform Blue Yonder. Adding, “If the first orders come in with great quality vegetables and still-cool protein, they stand the chance of capturing a long-term customer instead of a short-term dabbler.”

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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