The meal kit delivery market is at a bit of a precipice right now, with the next steps unclear. Blue Apron just laid off 6 percent of its staff. HelloFresh is about to further test the public markets’ meal kit appetite with its own impending IPO. And we’re all waiting to see what Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods will mean for the upstarts.
So it seems like a solid strategy for Yumble to differentiate itself by going after the kids market. TechCrunch reports HelloFresh co-founder Dan Treiman joined up with Yumble last year and launched the company this past summer. With its kid-friendly prepared meal kit service, Yumble is targeting busy parents who still want to feed their kids nutritious lunches and dinners, but may lack the time to do so every day of the week.
One way Yumble does this is by sending meals that are already cooked, so all you have to do is re-heat them. Portions are kid appropriate, and menu items include Pretzel Chicken (with green beans and brown rice), Egg ‘Wich (with sweet potato fries), and Caprese Wheel (with carrots and grapes). They also offer snacks as well as options such as gluten free or vegetarian.
Pricing plans are $47.94 for six meals per week, $89.88 for 12 meals per week, and $167.76 for 24 meals per week. Right now, Yumble is only available on the East Coast, and is “hopefully” expanding to the West Coast in the first quarter of 2018.
I think Yumble is on to something here, but there is still a lot to unpack about the idea. First, I appreciate that the meals pre-cooked, which removes so much of the hassle I associate with Blue Apron and other meal kit delivery services. It’s easier to avoid dinnertime kiddo meltdowns when you can quickly fill their bellies. And not packing a lunch at 6:30 a.m. sounds fantastic.
Since I only have one child, spending roughly $8 per meal doesn’t seem so bad, given how much other eating out options cost. That fifty bucks a week can add up quickly, however, if you were to think of Yumble as a longer term solution. And if you were looking for something you can turn off and on, it just seems easier to keep a box of fish sticks in the freezer.
But that’s not even the bigger issue that I potentially have with Yumble (never having actually tried the service).
When it comes to dinner, at least, I don’t want to have two menus going: one for parents, one for kids. Especially six nights a week. Either my wife or myself prepare meals that are intended for the whole family to eat. For my son, this introduces him to foods he otherwise wouldn’t eat, and it also reminds him that his parents are not short-order cooks.
That said, my family is not every family, and there are situations where kid-focused meal kits are appropriate. Parents who work night shifts, or when you know one parent will be out traveling, or even a steady stream of lunches for summertime day camps.
Unlike other meal kit delivery services in this space, Yumble seems to be trying to solve a legitimate issue. So if and when it comes to the West Coast, I’ll definitely give Yumble a try.