Why Meal Kits Are Taking Over Supermarkets (and Where You Can Try Them)

Creating a (mostly) homemade meal is about to become even easier as more supermarkets are partnering with popular meal kit brands—or launching their own. Discover why the meal kit trend is hitting shelves, what it means for your food budget, and where you might be able to try the kits near you.

Photo courtesy of Purple Carrot

There’s a certain population that happily stirs and sautés to whip up an elaborate coursed dinner each night. On the opposite end of the spectrum are those who think of food in a more utilitarian way and snag takeout or fast food on the way home from work every evening.

Falling firmly in between the two are the meal kit masters—those who subscribe to plans like Blue Apron, Plated, or HelloFresh so they can cook a fresh meal in less than an hour and with less food waste after the fact. Since kits became available in 2012, about one in five Americans have at least done a trial run with one or more meal kit brands, says a survey by the research group Morning Consult. But many bail. Why? Price is the overwhelming reason, followed by lack of delivery availability and dislike for the recipes.

Enter the supermarket meal kit: a lower-cost alternative that eliminates the two most common barriers to entry by slashing a dollar or two per serving and being available the day you need it. Plus, it’s located in the deli section that’s conveniently near that bottle of wine you wanted to grab anyway.

Photo courtesy of Blue Apron

Whether it’s in response to the grocery game-changing Whole Foods-Amazon merger or the lack of large gains after its initial days as a public company on Wall Street, Blue Apron kicked off the supermarket sea change in 15 west coast stores on April 28. A selection of their boxes is now available at Costco for $6.50 instead of $8.75 per plate (about 30 percent off), with four servings per kit.

These other partnerships and grocery store-based programs have also been announced or have launched:

Now that the average American shops at the grocery store about 1.6 times a week rather than the 2.2 times per week in 2005, according to a Food Marketing Institute trend report, and with a growing segment opting to have groceries delivered, same-day meal kit at-your-door-service is only a matter of time.

1 Comment

  1. I've tried the Hy-Vee meal kits and was pleasantly surprised. Even my picky daughter loved them! There aren't a huge selection of meals, but they deliver what they promise.

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