Blink: Walked in my building’s mailroom yesterday and spotted two cases of Blue Apron, the new meal kit concept that is gaining popularity. To me another sign of how the consumer demand for convenience foods is morphing. Welcome to the era of food on demand 2.0.
Read On: Thanks to our time starved society, consumers are utilizing numerous digital tools to order, pay for their food and then either schedule a pickup or delivery time from anywhere. Detailed below are some leading options.
- Retailers – Do you still like to cook after a long day of work? Giant Food is partnering with Peapod the delivery service in Washington D.C. Your pre-ordered groceries will be waiting for you in a locker at your local Metro Station. Leading New England retailer Hannaford tested and now has expanded its Hannaford to Go lanes where their customers can pick-up their pre-ordered food without leaving their cars. Foursquare recently announced they will be offering a grocery delivery service (e.g., wines & spirits, restaurant food and dry cleaning too!). Throw into the mix two other established services Fresh Direct, Instacart and a new entry from Google.
- Foodservice – In addition to all the available delivery services we have been utilizing like GrubHub, disruptive innovators like Uber and Amazon are now entering the playing field and will rely on technology to coordinate food delivery logistics.
- Meal Kits – Consumers now have numerous options as it relates to delivered meal kits; order regular meals via Blue Apron, Hello Fresh or vegan meals from Purple Carrot.
Options, options, options. How is everyone (retailers, foodservice operators and meal kits) going to compete effectively? So, so many players! Will there be some fallout? I do not have the answer, but this much I do know. I live in an apartment building with one small loading zone in front of the building. On a given evening I can only imagine during peak delivery hours a scene comparable to bumper cars at an amusement park. At the same time, I envision the local Chinese delivery person still pedaling up on their bike.
Welcome to the era of food on demand 2.0.