The term 'meal prep' generally refers to the weekly preparation of meals for multiple days. The trend has sparked several how-to guides online for busy consumers looking to take advantage of the time-saving and healthy practice as the meals are portion-controlled and fulfill core macro nutrient targets.
“This practice of preparing whole meals in advance to better suit schedules, manage portion size, and help reach health goals has become a movement, fueled by a network of passionate online influencers, blogs, cookbooks, and over 11 million #mealprep posts on Instagram,” said Blue Apron CEO Linda Kozlowski.
According to Blue Apron, its meal prep offering requires more preparation time up front than its other meals options (as much as 90 minutes vs. the typical 30 minutes it takes to make a one, two-serving meal), but the process ultimately saves times for customers during the week as they have eight prepared meals that can be taken to work for lunch or reheated at home for dinner.
“Meal Prep by Blue Apron fits squarely within our strategy to unlock more flexibility in our service while serving a new segment of customers,” said Kozlowski.
The pricing of 'Meal Prep by Blue Apron' is $8.99 per serving or $71.92 per box with free shipping and is currently available to customers in select states along the east coast and Mid-Atlantic. The company said it plans to expand this offering nationally later this year.
‘We did not compromise on variety’
Kozlowski noted that Blue Apron’s new offering addressed the common feeling of food boredom many consumers feel when embarking on a week’s worth of meal prep.
“What makes our new meal prep offering uniquely Blue Apron is that we did not compromise on variety. We know monotony is one of the pain points associated with meal prep and we are proud to introduce a product that includes multiple dish selections, fresh produce, proteins, and flavorful sauces and spices, to keep mealtime interesting all week long,” said Kozlowski.
The Meal Prep by Blue Apron menus include:
- Signature (4 dishes, 2-servings each): Blue Apron’s most popular Signature recipes, designed as make-ahead meals. Sample recipes include: Asian-style beef with zucchini rice & spicy hoisin Sauce, baked chicken & olive tapenade with brown rice & zucchini
- Carb Conscious (4 dishes, 2-servings each): Recipes replace refined carbohydrates with high-fiber foods like vegetables and whole grains, all with 42g or less net carbohydrates (total carbohydrates minus dietary fiber) per serving. Sample recipes include: Currant pesto chicken with quinoa & zucchini, steak lettuce cups with peanuts & creamy cilantro sauce
- Pescatarian (4 dishes, 2-servings each): Recipes include fish or seafood, as well as other protein sources such as eggs and tofu, and are accompanied by sides like vegetables and rice. Sample recipes include: BBQ tilapia & pepper mayo with couscous & cauliflower, Italian-style salmon & quinoa with Spicy Lemon Dressing
- Multi-Cooker (2 dishes, 4-servings each): Use a multi-cooker to easily prepare meats such as pulled pork or chicken in bulk, complemented by sauces and sides with vegetables and grains. Sample recipes include: Cumin-Sichuan pork & noodles with cabbage & crispy onions, Indian-style chicken & coconut rice with cilantro sauce & almonds
After posting lackluster third quarter financials at the end of October 2019 where revenues declined 34% year-on-year to $99.5, Kozlowski noted some key improvements around its customer metrics including an increase in average order value and a 10% uptick in average number of orders per customer.
“We’re pleased to see the continued strengthening of our customer base with year-over-year improvements in certain key customer metrics in the third quarter. We continue to believe that the potential for Blue Apron remains significant and that with the execution of our strategy, we will achieve our 2020 growth targets,” she noted in the company's Q3 financial statement.