Meal kits: Hellofresh attracts 1m new US customers in Q1; Blue Apron attracts a more modest 15,000, sees path to profitability

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture credit: GettyImages-nd3000
Picture credit: GettyImages-nd3000

Related tags: Meal kits, Hellofresh, Blue Apron

Meal kit brands Hellofresh and Blue Apron have both posted strong Q1, 2021 sales figures this week, with Hellofresh attracting a million new customers during the quarter vs the same period last year, while loss-making rival Blue Apron gained a more modest 15,000, but said key customer metrics continue to improve.

Hellofresh​, which has consistently outperformed the market in recent years, posted an 83.7% increase in US revenues to €802.4m ($963m) in Q1, picking up more than a million new US customers, taking its US active customer base up to 3.69million and its global customer base up to 7.3 million.

Group sales rose 106.4% to €1.4bn ($1.7bn), while adjusted EBITDA rose 152.3% to €159m ($191m), said the company, which has also moved into the prepared meal delivery business recently through the acquisition of US ready-to-eat meal company Factor.

"2021 has set off to a strong start,” ​said Dominik Richter, co-founder and CEO at Hellofresh, which has plans to open additional distribution centers, expand meal choice, and take its brand into new markets this year.

“Our teams have been working hard to de-bottleneck the capacity constraints we were experiencing over the majority of 2020, especially in our US market. As a result, we've welcomed more customers than ever to HelloFresh.

"As consumers around the world have been adapting to new habits, like buying groceries online, they've also discovered the many advantages of our full meal solutions over traditional grocery shopping. Since we offer our customers great value for money, convenience as well as tasty and healthy meals, I am confident that we will benefit disproportionately from the shift to increased online grocery penetration."

Blue Apron: ‘The first quarter marked another period of year-over-year improvements’

Rival Blue Apron​​​ ​​​- which has spent a long time working on operational improvements and more efficient customer acquisition strategies – also had a strong quarter, posting a 27% increase in revenue to $129.7m in Q1.

Customers increased to 391,000, a year over year increase of 15,000, although still well below where things were a few years ago, when the company served almost a million customers.  

Net losses were $15.7m in the quarter, said CEO Linda Findley Kozlowski, who said she was confident that the company’s focus on driving efficiencies and attracting and retaining higher value customers would position Blue Apron for “future positive Adjusted EBITDA on a sustainable basis.”

She added: “The first quarter marked another period of year-over-year improvements in all of our key customer metrics. In particular, strong Average Order Value and Orders per Customer drove a 22% improvement in Average Revenue per Customer to an all-time quarterly record level ​[$331].”

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