One of the reasons we at The Spoon became bearish on meal kits was that while they promise convenience, they’re still a lot of work. And you never know how much work would go into making a meal kit until after you open the box and read through the instructions.
A new partnership between meal kit company Chefs’ Menu and media brand So Yummy is looking to remove that surprise with a little video help. The two companies announced today that they are working together to create So Yummy meal kits with QR codes on the label that when scanned, bring up So Yummy-created videos that show how to prepare the meal. Since the meal kits will be sold at retail, this means that before someone buys one, they can pull out their phone in the grocery store aisle, scan the code and watch a short video to see exactly what it will take to prepare it.
The video content will be the same type of top-down, short form videos that are de rigeur nowadays (think: BuzzFeed Tasty). So Yummy, a division of First Media, says its target demographic is moms aged 18 – 49 and that it reaches roughly 40 million millennials a month across Facebook, YouTube, TikTok and other social channels. In addition to videos that instruct on how to make the Chefs Menu meals, So Yummy will also include videos that show how to hack the meal, such as julienning a vegetable, to give it a more professional look.
The So Yummy-branded meal kits will be priced from $12.99 to $18.99 and will have seven varieties: Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry, Korean BBQ Steak, Chicken Marsala, Basil Alfredo Chicken Penne, Lemongrass Chicken, Cilantro Lime Steak and Thai Coconut Chicken. In a phone interview, Kevin McCray, Chief Operating Officer at Innov8 Partners (which owns the Chefs’ Menu brand) told me that because of the company’s sous vide preparation of ingredients, Chefs’ Menu meal kits have a 28-day shelf life without synthetic preservatives.
The meal kits are due out this September, but specific retail outlets and geographic availability have not been announced yet.
The meal kit sector as a whole is going through an ongoing evolution. While mail order meal kit pioneer Blue Apron faces getting delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, and Albertsons laid off staff at Plated, there is still projected growth for meal kits at retail.
The partnership between Chefs’ Menu and So Yummy seems to be a smart one. By giving people insight and–depending on the quality of the videos and hacks presented–inspiration right there in the grocery aisle, people could be prodded into buying those meal kits over others where prep is more of a mystery.