Since its launching just 13 years ago, the meal kit industry has rapidly adapted to delight changing customer appetites and become a multi-billion-dollar segment of subscriptions. Today, meal kit services enjoy a surge in demand as millions of people cook from home due to COVID-19. This change in lifestyle may be temporary, but it is definitely a unique momentum for this industry as people avoid going out and look to stretch their dollars. In 2019, the global market size of meal kit delivery services was valued at USD 7.60 billion and expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.8% from 2020 to 2027. During 2020, the meal kits industry has adjusted its model by focusing on trending ingredients and recipes to match current at-home habits. Here are key customers' needs shaping 2021 industry trends:
New Lifestyles and Dietary Needs
Following a strict diet like Keto can be challenging at first, especially when juggling a job, kids, and a busy schedule. For diet newbies, it can feel like an impossible commitment. This is exactly why there are now more meal kits for specific dietary preferences like Keto, Paleo, etc. Such meal kits offer an element of convenience to new cooks trying new recipes. They also save time on grocery shopping for those who are new to these movements. Companies like Green Chef has already joined this trend, with a mission of making healthy cooking easier for everyone, like any other fast-food meal.
New Demographic Customer Base
Due to stay-at-home orders and the lockdown on in-restaurant dining, more people are cooking at home. According to a Hunter Food Study Special Report54% of consumers reported they have been cooking more. And as people turn to time saving, convenient, and healthy ways to make a home-cooked meal, meal kits have become increasingly popular. An analysis by The NPD Group suggests a 7% increase in the population using meal kits since the pandemic began. This is a tremendous growth in a short period of time. According to two popular meal kit companies, Home Chef and Purple Carrot, the demographics of consumers using meal kit services has expanded to a broader audience. These include older populations who aren't inclined to go to the grocery store as well as younger consumers who are tired of takeout and choosing not to eat in restaurants.
Restaurant Meal Kits
Many restaurants were forced to close during some or all of the pandemic. Despite this bad news, the sector has pulled together, launched an alternative to in-person dining or takeout and encouraged customers to continue supporting local businesses. Popular restaurants in the US and UK offer take-and-bake meal kits in addition to takeout. In London, there are 13 Michelin-star restaurants that started offering home delivery in the past year. It has been described by its creator as “a totally new category”: the home-delivered restaurant meal kit.
For more on the Leading Food Trends of 2021, Read: Seasoning and Spices Market 2021 Review.
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