Meal Kit Delivery Services vs. Grocery Chains – What’s for Dinner?

July 6, 2016 Posted by - Chief Marketing Officer

Remember back in the day when preservatives were just a part of the dinner experience? Back when food labels were barely paid attention to let alone read and understood. Long gone are those days of food label indifference. Today’s consumer is hyper concerned about the freshness of food, the ingredients, and sustainability, among other factors. But, the shift from processed foods has not changed our craving for convenience.

Basically, we want our cake, and we want to eat it, too. But, we also want that cake to be farm to table, preservative free and convenient to get to.

Because of this, meal kit delivery services, like Home Chef, Blue Apron, Plated and Hello Fresh have been gaining steam (pun intended). Cardlytics analyzed consumer spending on meal kit services (MKS) and how they are impacting spend at traditional and specialty grocery stores, as well as restaurants. We found:

MKS are cooking: Spend on MKS grew 311 percent year over year from 2014. And, it will be interesting to see how this market continues to grow as new meal kit delivery options, like this one, pop up on the scene.



Freezer-aisle getting the cold shoulder: After subscribing to MKS, subscribers decreased their spend with traditional grocery stores by 6 percent and with specialty grocery stores by 7.6 percent.

Important for grocery chains to note as MKS subscribers, when shopping in the store, spend 28 percent more per grocery trip than the average food shopper.

The restaurant kitchen is cooling down: MKS are impacting dining out habits, as well. MKS subscribers drop their restaurant share of spend by 4.2 percent after subscribing.

Casual dining gets the shorter end of the celery stick: Casual dining restaurants take the biggest hit out of all the restaurant categories, with MKS subscribers dropping their dollar share from 37.2 percent to 34.2 percent after subscribing.


What’s important to note about these consumers is that, beyond the fresh aspect, the convenience feature is what’s most appealing. In our analytics, we found MKS subscribers index highly with on-demand retailers like Shutterfly, Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus. Marketers interested in reaching this audience will likely have a better shot through online and mobile targeted campaigns that highlight a brand’s convenient offerings.


Interested in more purchase-based insights? Check out our Research page here.