Since moving to San Francisco almost nine months ago, I am overwhelmed by the convenient ready-made meal options available for purchase. They are so much healthier and cheaper than a takeaway meal and feel homemade. One of the most popular options in our area is Munchery, whose chefs make delicious meals and deliver them directly from kitchens in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Sprig is another popular food delivery service that specialises in healthy on-demand meals in San Francisco and Chicago. Sprig’s menu, like Munchery’s, is limited, but the company promises delivery within 20 minutes after an order is placed, and the meals usually cost around $10. Their meals are also prepared in their own kitchens run by several high-profile chefs.
These services are so popular they have been drawing huge VC interest. In April 2015, Sprig raised $45 million in a funding round led by Social+Capital and Greylock Partners. And other food services have cottoned on to this growing trend, understanding and acting on the fact that people want healthy, fresh meals at home but are too time-poor to make the meals themselves. So services like Hello Fresh and Green Chef do weekly deliveries of meal kits that include all the ingredients to make a healthy, flavourful meal in 20 minutes or less.
These services are not limited to dinners—breakfasts and lunches are also offered. Sprig even delivers to offices around the area to save people from leaving the office at lunch!
So, with so many services providing easy, fresh, not-too-expensive meal options, they’re essentially stealing share from food retailers. Because who needs to buy groceries to make dinner when you have Sprig or Munchery at your door most nights? What’s more, with excellent phone apps, daily delicious and fresh menus, and each meal priced around $15 including delivery fees, I don’t think you could buy the ingredients for that price. Especially when you calculate the time it takes to make the meal.
Convenience is key for today’s consumers, and retailers are recognising and responding to this in the form of online delivery, and fresh, ready-made meals. Services like Instacart deliver groceries to your door within two hours via their easy to use app—I have been known to use their services often!
But with the increasing dominance of meal services, retailers need to ensure they too are capitalising on this trend and not losing out. Retailers need to look at where they can increase their own convenience offerings for consumers, and get back to being the go-to for meals.