Meal kit delivery services such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh continue their upward climb in popularity. Subscriptions to the services inched up in 2020, jumping ahead in Q3 of 2021. Today, 23% of U.S. adults now report they currently use or have previously used a meal kit service, and 11% say they intend to subscribe.
Even as comfort shopping and eating in restaurants rebounds from the Omicron-fueled winter slump, meal kit subscriptions (as well as intent to subscribe) aren’t falling backwards. And if summer of 2021 is any indication of performance – when meal kit subscriptions were growing while comfort being in public was high – we shouldn’t expect them to.
Ironically, the data show that current and future meal kit subscribers are more likely to eat at restaurants or order takeout. Fast casual restaurants, such as Panera, and fast food places are the most favored by this crowd.
Meal kit subscribers are also significantly more likely to use a grocery delivery service, such as Amazon or Instacart. Nearly half of users have experience with grocery delivery. Together, grocery delivery services and meal kits, which simplify both shopping and cooking time, eliminates ever needing to set foot in a store.
Parents continue to outpace non-parents in meal kit service adoption, but that gap appears to be narrowing from numbers observed in 2021. Current data show that at least one-quarter of parents subscribe/previously subscribed to a meal kit service, compared to 23% of non-parents. Looking ahead, intent is much higher among non-parents.
While meal kits likely appeal to busy parents looking for quick and easy meal prep solutions, they clearly have a broader reach – especially among Gen Z adults. More than one-third have experience with meal kit services, while one-quarter have plans to use one.
And while some young adults who live at home may not pay for meal kit subscriptions by themselves, usage is still relatively consistent across all income levels. Adoption is most prevalent among those who earn $100K to $150K annually, but intent is strongest among people making less than $100K.
What’s more, remote workers are twice as likely to use meal kit services than people who work at an office or other location. Working from home goes hand-in-hand with home delivery. Over 40% of remote workers have tried meal kit services, although more than half say they have used them but don’t like them. Even so, another 20% are interested in giving meal kits a go in the future.
When it comes to current and future meal kit subscribers, survey results suggest they are people who heavily value convenience – whether it’s quick service restaurants or apps for grocery delivery. And as the stay-at-home economy continues to evolve, meal kit services appear to be growing with it.