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Lockdown Cuisine: The Rise of Meal Kit Delivery During COVID-19

By Andrew Zenyuch,
Associate Creative Director


Groceries aren’t the only home-delivery option growing during the lockdown.

Meal Kits, such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and others, were already household names for their convenience, fun recipes and low introductory offers.

Now, with people nationwide confined to their homes, sales have skyrocketed. Both Blue Apron and Hello Fresh have reported an increase in demand due to the pandemic. Their stocks are also surging – with Blue Apron and Hello Fresh up 70% and 11% respectively after states began announcing stay-at-home orders.

Restaurants are getting into the make-at-home recipe game as well. They’re kitting up the ingredients for some of their most popular dishes for consumers to make in their own kitchens. This opens up a new, much-needed revenue stream for establishments trying to keep their lights on and retain the loyal customers.

It’s easy to see why consumers are flocking to these services during these uncertain times.

First – they’re easy. Everything needed for dinner is dropped off on the doorstep – individually packaged with the amount needed for a specific recipe. There’s no measuring or wondering if you have what you need – everything is delivered in one nice, neat, literal package.

Second – they eliminate waste. Everything is single use – from the herbs to the to the proteins. There’s no need to buy an exotic spice or non-staple item that will just sit in the pantry for years afterwards. These kits give what’s needed with very little leftover.

Lockdown Cuisine: The Rise of Meal Kit Delivery During COVID-19

Also – they’re fun! With a wide selection of rotating recipes, they offer some much-needed variety for cooks stuck at home, including a chance to try dishes they never would have made otherwise. They’re a great alternative to eating out during the lockdown.

But the biggest thing they offer right now is peace of mind, which is hard to come by these days. These delivery meal kits guarantee that food is coming right to the door on a regular schedule. No leaving the house, no risking exposure. Food insecurity and instability are serious concerns for a lot of households right now. Being able to afford the assurance that food will continue to be delivered is priceless.

So how can marketers take advantage of this?

Partnering/Supplying

If they’re not already, brands should be taking a serious look at partnering with one of the meal kit providers. It opens up a whole new revenue source, and a way to get product into consumers’ homes safely and regularly.

Co-Branding

Taking the partnership a step further, co-branding opportunities may exist with these services. Going beyond simply supplying, a brand could offer their recipes, access to their influencer pool, or provide exclusive recipes you can only get through the meal kit provider. Content like this could earn additional marketing opportunities.

Going Local

Another opportunity is partnering with local restaurants to launch or support their meal kit programs. This may be logistically difficult for a larger food brand, but it opens up another, albeit small, revenue stream. It also creates goodwill between the restaurants, their customers and the brand – gaining the brand local credibility with consumers. Co-branding opportunities may exist here as well depending on the partnership.

Donating Subscriptions

Honestly, one of the best things we think a brand could do is help out food insecure families with subscriptions to these boxes. The security they give during these uncertain times is invaluable. It’s likely that families will never forget the brands that were there for them in their time of need – creating loyal fans for life. It’s a benefit that far outweighs any cost of the subscription.

Meal kits, from both delivery brands and local restaurants, are surging thanks to the stay-at-home orders. The convenience, variety and peace of mind they provide consumers is priceless right now. Brands have opportunities to supply, partner, go local and/or donate subscriptions to these meal kit services to capitalize on their growth.

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