2020 Grocery Trends: In-Store Meal Kits

Convenience is king – and nobody knows that better than a grocery member of the retail industry.

Exhibit A: meal kits. The food industry’s version of a subscription service has gained widespread popularity over the last few years, playing into shoppers’ desire to have everything at their fingertips, their choices made for them ahead of time, and the hard work already completed.

As the meal kit industry expands, grocers could be wary of the explosive growth. Or, they can get in on the action.

 

What grocers need to know about in-store meal kits

The meal kit sector need not only include those kits that arrive on a consumer’s doorstep. Why wouldn’t a shopper want to pick up a meal kit right in the aisles of the grocery store they already know and love? They trust the brand, and shopping at your store is a part of their routine – what’s not to love?

In-store meal kits compete with delivered meal kits like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh that have defined the category. Innovative grocers saw an opportunity to use their inventory, their products, to create a convenient meal kit and bolster their brand while getting in on the crazy.

Grocery store meal kits are still a pretty recent trend, becoming most popular in 2019. Sales of these meal kits accounted for $93 million in sales in 2018 according to Nielsen, so there is still time to be considered a trendsetter in this space while raking in some extra revenue.

 

Which grocers are doing in-store meal kits well?

Unsurprisingly, in-store meal kits play well in grocery stores that are focused on experience. These stores draw in a customer who is looking for something more than a good deal, something more than a generic product. They are brand aware, and ready to spend if they like what they see.

HomeChef’s partnership with Kroger is a great example of this. Many Kroger stores are known for their experience – the cleanliness of the store, the memorable layout, the unique vignettes focused on local flavors. Kroger customers are the exact type of shopper that would likely choose a meal kit, already prepped for them with wholesome ingredients that they’re willing to pay a little more for.

Whole Foods and Amazon’s partnership on in-store meal kits is another collaboration that makes sense. The grocer is known for higher prices that are reflected in higher quality produce and ethically-sourced inventory. Its customers would be thrilled to know that they could grab a meal that was entirely on brand for Whole Foods, and take it to go.

 

Pros and cons of meal kits in grocery stores

Offering meal kits in your stores can have benefits and consequences for your business. As a 2020 grocery trend, the pros tend to outweigh the cons.

First and foremost, meal kits are convenient, which makes them appealing to customers. If the ingredients are already prepped by your in-house chefs, that’s less work on the shopper’s end without having to give up on the idea of a nourishing meal. Instead of running through the drive through on the way home from work, shoppers can pop into your store and grab a meal kit. Same effort, better results.

In addition, creating a meal kit from your brand also eliminates the middle man. Your customers can feel good knowing that they’re shopping from their neighborhood store, and that their profits are going straight to their friendly grocer instead of to a faceless corporation.

Finally, meal kits are extremely popular now and will continue to be in 2020. The benefit of jumping on the meal kit trend for your store is positioning your company as ahead of the curve. Strike while the iron is hot as they say.

If we had to pick a downside, it would be the sheer investment of producing meal kits for your store. They will take extra resources if you’re attempting to build a large scale operation across multiple stores, so consider making scarcity part of your offer. If your in-store chefs only create a certain number of meal kits per day, with varying recipes, you could build a cult following around your meal kits with shoppers clamoring to know what today’s meal will be.

If you ask us, the sky’s the limit with in-store meal kits. The trend is still so new, so fresh, that you can take it, and put your store’s stamp on it and see how it plays out. We look forward to seeing your innovation.