Plant-Based Meal Kits And Delivery Services Are On The Rise – Forbes

Posted: December 12, 2019 at 12:45 pm


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Veestro is one of many a delivery services that make it easier to get more plant-based foods into ... [+] your diet without sacrificing taste, quality, or convenience.

Its no secret that the youth of America, on average, arent exactly cooking aficionados; according to a recent report by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) consume food outside the home around 30% more often than any other generation. The USDA study also found that millennials spend significantly less time on food preparation, presentation, and cleanup55 minutes less than Gen Xers (those born between 1965 and 1980)and spend, on average, 12 minutes less eating and drinking than Traditionalists (those born before 1946).

At the same time that millennials are eschewing spatulas and mixing bowls, they are also embracing plants. According to The Economist, fully a quarter of 25-to-34-year-old Americans say they are vegans or vegetarians. As for those millennials who eat some amount of meat, eggs or dairy, Mintel reports that almost one-third of them are trying to eat a more plant-based diet.

The results of these two trends? A remarkable rise in products and services that offer the promise of convenience without an animal product in sight.

An early entrant into the space, Purple Carrot, launched in 2014. Like Blue Apron and Plated, which were both founded two years prior, it too sells meal kitsessentially a subscription service where a company sends customers pre-portioned and sometimes partially-prepared food ingredients and recipes to prepare home cooked mealsbut they are entirely vegan. Since receiving a publicity boost from Mark Bittman, the American food journalist, author, and former columnist for the New York Times, who joined the company to develop and test recipes (as well as work to make packaging and sourcing more sustainable), Purple Carrot has gone on to service over 22,000 customers in 2018 and to generate $43 million in revenue. Earlier this year, it was acquired by Japan's largest meal kit and organic food delivery service Oisix ra daichi.

Hungryroot, which launched in 2015, takes a slightly different approach. It markets itself as a veggie-friendly (though not an exclusively plant-based company, one can opt into making the experience 100% vegan) food subscription service that offers ingredients consumers can mix and match together to their liking as part of suggested recipes. Just this past October, Hungryroot repositioned itself as a personalized online grocery service, drawing upon some of the features of popular e-grocers like plant-forward Thrive Market and vegan Mylk Guys, and is offering an assortment of products in its weekly deliveries from third-party brands including RightRice, Field Roast, Kite Hill, Yves, Beyond Meat and Banza.

But as Amanda Mull notes in The Atlantic, it still takes a chunk of time to unpack, cook,and clean up after a meal-kit meal, too. Enter meal delivery services.

Unlike meal kits, meal delivery services offer fully cooked meals that require little to no preparation other than heating them up.

A leader in the category is Veestro. Founded by sister-and-brother duo Monica Klausner and Mark Fachler who grew up in Costa Rica where they learned to appreciate the value of a home-cooked meal, the plant-based company delivers healthy, organic vegan meals that can be heated up straight away or refrigerated or frozen for later use. One reviewer noted that the meals taste good, that her personal favorites were the red curry, Thai chick'n stew, and mushroom risotto, and that she truly appreciated not having to think about preparing food or give in to greasy takeout. As of 2019, Veestro is profitable and growing fast. Its projected revenue for 2019 is nearly $9 million (a 53% increase from 2018) and the founders expect sales in 2020 to hit $20 million.

Hungry Earthling, a new vegan meal delivery service, also relies (mostly) on organic ingredients, and has received some positives reviews: One customer noted [b]ecause they are plant-based I wasn't sure if the meals would be filling but the portions are generous, taste surprisingly good and I always feel satisfied. While Hungry Earthling currently only delivers to California, Arizona and Nevada, it intends to expand across the country as it grows its customer base.

One downside of all of these services is that they can be pricey. The more you buy, the cheaper the meal kits and prepared meals get (less expensive than a night or two out on the town), but they can still be cost-prohibitive for many millennials, occasionally referred to as generation broke and who still eat cheap fast food on a regular basis. (The environmental impact of all that extra packaging is also an issue, but some have argued the benefitssuch as decreasing food wasteoutweigh the shipping and handling impacts.)

EMeals arguably represents a middle ground in terms of cost and convenience. The online meal planning service offers subscribers shopping lists from selected recipes, and recommends services that can deliver groceries or schedule them for pickup. They offer over 100 meal plans and one of them being a vegan meal plan, with new and unique recipes every week.

Perhaps more millennials would benefit from going to the grocery store and cooking scratch meals the old-fashioned way. Still, for those who can afford one of these plant-based meal kits or meal delivery services, it has never been easier to cut back on animal products. Given the connection between industrial animal agriculture and the climate crisis, poor public health and animal cruelty, I, as a card-carrying millennial, will happily raise my avocado toast to that.

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Plant-Based Meal Kits And Delivery Services Are On The Rise - Forbes

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December 12th, 2019 at 12:45 pm

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