Blue Apron Meal Kits Most Preferred, But Grocer Kits Wanted

Blue Apron rules the roost when it comes to the most purchased and most desired meal kit brands, but consumers show a tremendous desire for grocers to develop their own kits for purchasing in-store, according to new research from Fayetteville, Ark.-based Field Agent.

Among the brands ordered online by meal kit users, Blue Apron got top ranking (64 percent), trailed by Hello Fresh (46 percent) and other brands much further behind, Field Agent's research reveals. Among those who don't purchase kits, Blue Apron is by far the most likely brand of choice (46 percent) if they did start doing so.

However, if given the option, users and nonusers alike may drop these services and run to their local grocer for kits. Some 78 percent of consumers – 76 percent of nonusers and 78 percent of users – want, to some extent, grocery stores to develop meal kits they could purchase in stores. And they don't want just some national-brand kits, nor do they really desire locally focused brands: 69 percent of consumers – 68 percent of nonusers and 75 percent of users – desire kits that contain a combination of local or private brands and well-known name brands.

It's worth noting that among the respondents who haven't ordered meal kits online, the top two barriers are that the kits they see are expensive (63 percent), and that these people prefer to grocery shop in stores (45 percent). Grocers that offer meal kits at more competitive price points than online kit services stand to remove these barriers to purchase and encourage more to try.

Further, the top two drivers that could persuade nonusers are free trials or samples (86 percent) and lower prices (72 percent). This further backs up the idea of offering more competitive price points, as well as encouraging grocers that develop kits to let shoppers try the products before committing, whether through a trial period or possibly even in-store preparation demonstrations and tastings.

Meal kits have skyrocketed to $5 billion in sales, according to recent research from Packaged Facts. Grocers that develop kits and remove the barriers to purchasing stand to win not just now, but even more so in the future: Some 32 percent of users plan to continue purchasing them at the same frequency over the next three years, and 42 percent plan to purchase them more often over the same time frame.

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