How do consumers value fresh food meal kits?

Fresh food meal kit delivery services (also known as ’meal kit companies’ or ‘food boxes’) have become a multi-hundred-million euro business in Europe. Berlin based HelloFresh, founded in 2011, grew out to be market leader in mainland Europe and has expanded services to the US and Australia already selling fifty million meals on a yearly basis. The company was valued at 2,6 billion euro in 2015 and is planning an IPO in the near future. 

Fresh food meal kit market report 

The concept and it’s explosive growth have been much debated over the last year. Little is known about how consumers value these meal kits. In order to better understand the consumer part of the story we studied the meal kit market in the Netherlands, one of the most mature markets for meal kits. We focussed on how consumers experience and value meal kits.

How do consumers value meal kits? 

For our  report, behavioral research company Veylinx performed a consumer valuation research, among 1,084 Dutch consumers. They tested what people are really willing to pay for meal kits. By comparing the results for different meal kits, we were able to understand consumers’ perceived value and how it relates to their characteristics, purchase history and brand awareness. 

Willingness to pay

Veylinx tested five meal kits for us: Mathijs maaltijdbox, Streekbox, HelloFresh, Allerhande box and MarleySpoon. 

Potential buyers are willing to pay €23.21 on average for the boxes (containing 3 meals for 2 persons), which is low compared to their actual costs (between €35 and €40). By gathering consumers’ bids for the meal kits, they were able to rank them in terms of consumers’ valuation.

What are consumers in the Netherlands willing to pay for the meal kits? (with reference to HelloFresh)  Meal kits ranked, from left to right: Mathijsbox (5), Streekbox (4), HelloFresh (3), Allerhande (2), Marley Spoon (1) (Source: Veylinx, jan/feb 2016, n=1084) 

What are consumers in the Netherlands willing to pay for the meal kits? (with reference to HelloFresh)  Meal kits ranked, from left to right: Mathijsbox (5), Streekbox (4), HelloFresh (3), Allerhande (2), Marley Spoon (1) (Source: Veylinx, jan/feb 2016, n=1084) 

Although the price of Allerhandebox is lower than HelloFresh, consumers are willing to pay more for them. Apparently The Albert Heijn brand and associated quality creates goodwill for their meal kits. 

Despite the fact that their ingredients are worth less than other meal kits, Marley Spoon has successfully positioned itself as a luxurious meal kit - charging a little more than HelloFresh for their kits, and creating a higher willingness to pay among consumers.

Target groups 

Veylinx took a look at what target groups are willing to pay most for the boxes: especially women, people who are into organic food and higher education/ higher income groups are appealed to the meal kit concept. 

What drives Willingness to Pay? 

Both brand awareness and price awareness with food boxes affect consumers’ willingness to pay positively. The highest difference in willingness to pay can be seen among people who already had experience using boxes. It seems that people within the group of consumers are willing to pay 41% more for the meal kits- regardless whether they had a positive or negative experience.

People who have already had the experience of using meal kits (orange line) , are willing to pay 41% more on average than those who had not (blue line).  Source: Veylinx, jan/feb 2016, n=1084)

People who have already had the experience of using meal kits (orange line) , are willing to pay 41% more on average than those who had not (blue line).  Source: Veylinx, jan/feb 2016, n=1084)

About the report

In the Fresh food meal kit market report we used the outcomes of multiple studies, among which an elaborate consumer valuation study performed by Veylinx among 1,084 Dutch consumers, studying consumer preferences for meal kits, among which: HelloFresh, Marley Spoon, Mathijsmaaltijdbox, Allerhandebox (operated by retailer Albert Heijn) and de Krat.  Apart from that, we study pricing of the and draw conclusions for players active within this market.  

The fieldwork for this study was performed in the Netherlands, one of the most mature markets for meal kits. Gathered insights could be useful for anyone who is active in the meal kit or online grocery business world-wide. The report will help them to better understand the challenges and opportunities that have arisen within the industry.

The full (50 pages) report can be purchased from our website. 

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