“The big trend right now is getting a box of ingredients delivered,” by companies such as Blue Apron or Chef’d, which are “a great experience for date night or to do with friends,” but which can take one to two hours to chop, cook and clean up after the meal, said Monica Klausner, CMO of Veestro.
Not everyone has that much time or energy to cook dinner nightly, which is where Veestro comes in, said Klausner. She explained that Veestro is an alternative food delivery service that offers consumers “a complete meal solution that is already made and is ready to be heated and enjoyed” in less than 15 minutes instead of two hours.
Klausner and her brother launched the three year old frozen meal deliver service not only to save consumers time in the kitchen, but also to ease the burden and time investment to find recipes, make grocery lists and shop for ingredients, Klausner said.
“People are pressed for time, they are distracted by their phones and work and want to spend time with their family, so going to the supermarket becomes a nuisance,” Klausner said. Plus, grocery shopping can be overwhelming when consumers are faced with hundreds of options and must read label after label to find the ingredients and goods that meet their dietary needs.
This is one reason why services, such as Amazon Prime Pantry, Amazon Fresh, Instacart, Peapod and other online grocery ordering and delivery services quickly are growing in popularity, Klausner said. But again, she noted, these services only take care of shopping, but not prepping, meals.
“I do believe the next big wave of food companies and investment targets in the food space are going to be companies like Veestro that are delivering complete meal solutions,” Klausner said. She added that the food industry “is the last big land-grab on the Internet and it is just now starting to take off.”
Online food and meal delivery services also offer solutions to shoppers living in food deserts where there are no groceries, farmers markets or easy access to whole, fresh foods, Klausner said. In addition, she noted, because Veestro’s meals are frozen and will save until consumers are ready to eat them, they can help consumers reduce food waste, which accounts for on average 40% of American’s grocery purchases annually.
Klausner noted one of the biggest challenges Veestro and similar companies face is the newness of the online food delivery space and making consumers feel comfortable ordering ingredients and meals on the Internet. However, she added, that companies like Amazon and Blue Apron are helping consumers become more comfortable ordering food online and the category is ready to take off.
Another challenge for online food delivery services and consumers is negotiating the tab for delivery. Veestro offers free shipping for orders of $199 or more, but that for smaller orders consumers must pay for delivery, which can incrementally increase their grocery bill.
Acknowledging that an order of $199 or more can be a “steep barrier to entry” for new consumers, Veestro offers a Starter Pack to new consumers, which includes 12 of the company’s most popular meals for a discounted price of $99 and free shipping, Klausner said.
“The starter pack is really a great way to dip your toe into Veestro waters, and we see a huge number of return customers after the pack,” said Klausner, who estimated the return rate at about 50%. She also noted that the average order size is about $200 – so just enough to trigger the free delivery – and that the young company currently has about 2,000 subscribers.
Veestro offers convenience and health
Veestro consumers do not have to sacrifice health for convenience, Klausner said. Unlike some conventional frozen entrees sold in grocery stores, Veestro’s meals do not have added sodium or preservatives and are made with organic, non-GMO, whole food ingredients.
“We start with the actual produce. We don’t use processed things to make our meals,” which places them smack on trend for consumer demand for natural, minimally processed, fresh foods, Klausner said.
She added that consumers who buy Veestro do not have to be vegan just because the meals are. She stressed that the company does not proselytize a vegan lifestyle, but rather tries to educate consumers that the more plant-based meals they eat the healthier they will feel.
Veestro builds on its health message by offering several health-oriented meal packages, including a 21-Day Kickstart package advertised as a way to help consumers “kickstart your way to better health.” It also offers a Healthy Voyager Travel Meal Pack, a juice cleanse plan, a high-protein plan and a gluten-free package. In addition, consumers can buy meals a la cart.
While healthy eating is a foundational element of Veestro, the company is not positioned as a diet or weight management system, stressed Klausner, who said the young company is not trying to compete with services like Jenny Craig that provide meals and also healthy lifestyle counseling. Rather, it simply wants to provide consumers with fast, convenient and healthy meal solutions.
Interested in exploring new channels to market? Find out what the bosses of HUMAN Healthy Markets, NatureBox, and Door to Door Organics think food shopping will look like in 2020 at Food Vision USA in Chicago on October 27-29. Find out more HERE or click on the link below.