Meal kit delivery company, HelloFresh, announced today that it has acquired Green Chef, which offers certified organic meal kits. The move will help diversify HelloFresh’s meal catalog with organic, vegan and gluten-free menus. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The acquisition comes at an interesting time for the entire meal kit by mail space. Just last week Blue Apron, which has had a rough year after pioneering meal kit subscriptions, said they will start selling meal kits in stores in a bid to move beyond just mail order.
But the health of Blue Apron almost doesn’t matter anymore. HelloFresh may well be able to offer specialized meals like Paleo and Keto with this acquisition, but there are a lot of companies providing specialized meal services: Purple Carrot is vegetarian, First Chop only sends meat, Little Spoon does baby food, to name a few.
In addition to variety, customers also want convenience. The hard part with mail order meal kits is that you still have to do a lot of work to actually make the meal, and you’re locked into a meal choice that you might not still want in between the time you clicked send and the time it arrives.
HelloFresh faces convenience competition on two big fronts. First, there are the up-and-coming smart appliance makers like Mealhero, Tovala and Suvie. They offer meal kits plus a way to automatically cook everything all at once, in one device, drastically reducing the amount of work required.
Then HelloFresh has to contend with the growing wave of prepared meal kits provided directly in stores. Amazon, Walmart, and even Weight Watchers offer their own lines of meal kits that you can pick up at a store or that you can have delivered same day. These kits do a lot of the prep work for you, and allow you more freedom to choose the meal you’re in the mood for at that moment.
Meeting consumers where they are at is a smart move, and that’s what HelloFresh is doing with Green Chef. The trick for the company will be to increase the convenience as it expands its variety.