For about a year, I was a regular user of Blue Apron meal kits. While I generally liked the curated weekly recipes the one-time meal kit darling suggested, on occasion I wished I could swap out, say, a protein like ground turkey for ground beef or a healthier side like cauliflower in place of potatoes, rather than stick to the one-sized-fits-all food bundle they sent to my home.
In other words, what I really wanted was a customized meal kit.
With today’s announcement from Innit about their new shoppable recipe capabilities, I can have just that. The new feature, which is available with the latest update of Innit’s app, allows you to take a recipe and substitute out ingredients so you can tailor the meal to your specific tastes. From there, a user can choose from a number of different online grocery partners, from Walmart Grocery to Instart-enabled providers (Albertsons, Krogers) to Amazon Fresh to Shipt/Target.
I decided to try the new shoppable recipe feature in the Innit app for myself. I picked a Tomatillo Steak Wrap recipe and was glad I was able to choose from a list of proteins other than flank steak (boneless chicken, halibut, ground turkey). I chose ground turkey and the recipe instantly changed. From there, I clicked on the grocery cart icon and added the ingredients to a shopping list. I was asked to pick a grocery shopping partner (Amazon Fresh was the only one that delivered to my suburban (north of Seattle) address. Like many typical commerce integrations, I was then pushed to my mobile browser to complete the purchase, where I was asked to log into Amazon (an obvious further improvement here would to push me to my Amazon app). Still, the app flow was fairly smooth and seemed well integrated.
Today’s news is just another indication that we’ve moved past the meal kit 1.0 era characterized by one-sized-fits-all boxes, subscriptions and the need to plan a week ahead of time. Of course, this transition has been happening for some time with Amazon’s entry and the struggle of the likes of Blue Apron and Chef’d.
Speaking of Chef’d, Innit first teased the idea of personalized meal kits with the company last year, but that was before the troubled meal kit provider went out of business (they’ve since been brought back to life). I talked to Innit CEO Kevin Brown, who told me their early partnership with companies like Chef’d, as well as their acquisition of Shopwell, helped them to fine-tune this idea and launch the feature in the Innit app.
“The days of being rigid and not choosing is replaced by having total choice,” said Brown.
Innit isn’t the only one with their eyes set on creating customized meal kits through a recipe app. SideChef, through its integration with Amazon Fresh, enables a similar feature and other shoppable recipe platforms like Myxx are also doing similar integrations with grocery partners. Grocery chains like Krogers are also working on programs to enable customizable meal kits in-store.
All of which is a good thing, as I am sure most people are like me and like to customize recipes to their particular dietary or taste preferences. Now, if online grocery partners could just figure out their packaging waste problem, I’d be fully back on the meal kit bandwagon.