Meal kits popularity grows, seafood becoming more important

Blue Apron meal kits

The meal kit trend shows no signs of running out of steam as time-pressed consumers continue to embrace a format that gives them a home-cooked experience without the commitment to starting from scratch. A recent Harris Poll shows a quarter of US adults purchased a meal kit in 2016 and 70% of meal kit buyers are still actively purchasing them.

Why so popular? Meal kits are hitting a mark with consumers and delivering on key convenience and health trends. Among meal kit purchasers, the top reasons for buying include saving time on meal planning (46%) and the short prep and cook time (45%). Saving time is such a critical factor that even 44% of those who are no longer actively purchasing meal kits say they would consider doing so again due to the time saved on meal planning.

Harris spoke to over 2,000 adults for the survey and found out the top reasons for purchasing include saving time on grocery shopping (37%), trying new recipes (36%), and the healthy recipes (34%). A majority of active meal kit purchasers agree that meal kit dinners are healthier than prepared foods from their local grocery store.

Interestingly, seafood-based meals may be one of the new recipes that meal kits encourage buyers to try as two-thirds of active purchasers say they eat seafood more often when purchasing meal kits (66%).

When it comes to the contents of the meal kits, a vast majority of active purchasers appear to be very satisfied. Some 92% say they’re satisfied with the quality of the produce they get with their meal kits and 91% are happy with how the fresh meat is packaged. Health is clearly important when it comes to meats, but 89% of purchasers say they would be satisfied with regular (ie, not organic) meat.

But there are also areas for improvement. A majority of active purchasers are looking to feed their sweet tooth as well, with 86% saying they would add dessert to their meal kit if the option was available.

And among lapsed buyers, nearly half say that a low cost would influence them to purchase. Over one-third would also be influenced to purchase meal kits if they were available in their local grocery store.

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