The customizable meal kit is sort of a white whale for The Spoon. The idea that you could pick and choose your ingredients and have them assembled and delivered to you in a timely fashion is something we’ve been watching, waiting (and writing) on for the past couple of years. Today we got one step closer to that reality when Home Chef and its parent company, Kroger, announced a new Customize It feature for its meal kits.
According to the press release, The Customize It feature is available to customers shopping for meal kits online at Home Chef, where they can now swap, double or upgrade ingredients on “many of their favorite recipes.”
Kroger claims the move makes Home Chef the first “leading meal kit company” to introduce this type of customization. We haven’t seen anything similar from other meal kit companies, so this seems to mark a milestone for the meal kit sector.
Depending on how much of it is allowed, adding customization features gives more power to the consumer and could help fend off issues mail order meal kits have with customer retention. If you have a particular allergy or taste preference, being able to swap out an ingredient means shoppers can choose from a broader selection of meal kit menus rather than abandoning the service entirely. And the ability to double ingredients makes a lot of sense for people throwing a dinner party — everything you need arrives in the box ready to go.
Now we’ll see if this customization will trickle down into the meal kits Home Chef sells through Kroger. The companies also announced today that Home Chef meal kits will be available in an additional 500 Kroger stores, bringing the total number of Home Chef retail locations to more than 700.
We’ve already seen some signs of meal kit customization with Kroger’s “Easy for You!” frozen buffet. Easy for You! allows customers to assemble various frozen ingredients together into an oven-ready bag they can cook at home. Broadening that customization to fresh food in Home Chef meal kits could allow for customers to create a bespoke meal kit online with the pre-portioned ingredients they want, and have that packaged meal either ready for pick-up at the store or delivered to their home same day.
This is the reason we’re waiting so intently for customized meal kits, this combination of choice and convenience could drastically alter the way we shop and eat.