“Our business continues to see meaningful growth across our US and global segments” with order rates far ahead of pre-pandemic levels – an accomplishment made possible by consumers’ positive experiences with HelloFresh as well as the company’s dynamic multi-brand strategy fueled by acquisitions, Uwe Voss, CEO HelloFresh US, told FoodNavigator-USA.
He explained that “over the past decade, HelloFresh has innovated from a meal kit start-up in Germany to become the world’s leading food solutions group” by listening to consumers and taking strategic steps, including through innovation and acquisition, to offer them what they want.
And what they want, according to a recent survey of 11,500 consumers across 16 countries conducted by HelloFresh, is more diverse selection with higher quality and fresher ingredients that are sourced more sustainably and locally than ten years ago, and which they can enjoy with others as an important social occasion.
Variety is the spice of life
According to HelloFresh’s survey, consumers today are more knowledgeable about food and want more variety than they did 10 years ago, with more than a third reporting that they are more interested in the origin of the food they eat today, and 37% noting that they eat a wider variety of food than they did in 2011.
In response, HelloFresh has greatly expanded the choice and variety of food if offers.
“In the early days, customers had limited options when selecting their weekly menu, whereas today we offer more than two dozen recipes each week with the option to add quick meals, snacks, sides or desserts to their weekly order through our HelloFresh Market,” Voss said.
“In addition to expanding choice,” he noted, “HelloFresh leverages our data-driven technology platform to continuously improve our recipes based on customer feedback.”
Popular dishes offered by HelloFresh that reflect this demand for diversity, according to the company’s survey, include Beef Flautas Supreme, Firecracker Meatballs, Prosciutto Caprese sandwich and Spinach & Feta Egg Bites.
Looking forward, HelloFresh predicts this trend will foster increased interest in the Mediterranean diet, South American flavors like spicy Aji Amarillo and handheld dishes like empanadas and tacos. It also predicts more adventurous algae-based oils will gain popularity.
Sustainability becomes a top priority
Since HelloFresh launched, consumer focus on sustainability has gained traction with 31% of adults surveyed by the company saying they try to shop more sustainably than ten years ago, 30% reporting they shop more locally and 22% reporting they try to reduce food waste.
This shift has pushed HelloFresh to rethink its approach to packaging, shipping and meal selection, Voss said.
“Meal kits also offer consumers a sustainable meal solution as a result of the demand-driven subscription model that sends consumers the exact amount of ingredients needed to prepare a meal. Cooking with HelloFresh reduces at-home food waste by at least 25%,” Voss said, adding: “Through continuous innovation, we have made significant reductions in excess packaging and in 2020 became the first global carbon neutral meal kit company.”
Building on this trend, HelloFresh’s survey predicts that more home cooks will implement zero-waste recipes and more fully embrace “nose to tail” or “root to tip” cooking styles that include saving trimmings to make broth or using carrot tops to make a pesto.
Likewise, it predicts that the “plant parenthood” trend that emerged during the pandemic will lead to more home cooks growing their own hyper-local ingredients.
Convenience remains paramount
Even as consumers look for more sustainable and adventurous options, convenience is a top driver for purchases of meal kits.
“Meal kits help consumers eliminate the stress of meal planning and save on trips to the grocery store while offering a convenient and sustainable meal solution,” Voss said.
As such, he added: “We now offer more convenient meal options and have seen an increase in demand for ready-to-eat options, like our newest US brand Factor, which we acquired last year,” he said.
HelloFresh’s multi-brand strategy and expanding footprint
As illustrated by Factor, much of HelloFresh’s ability to respond to evolving consumer demand has been made possible through its multi-brand strategy built in part through acquisition.
“In the US, our multi-brand strategy has enabled us to grow our total addressable market through the acquisition of new brands and the introduction of new product lines – from a product offering and price perspective, we offer something for everyone,” Voss said.
For example, he noted, “with our EveryPlate brand, consumers can enjoy the convenience of having fresh ingredients and recipes delivered to them at a $5 price point. For those seeking organic, diet-friendly options, Green Chef will offer an appealing menu. Both of those customer groups look slightly different than a customer of HelloFresh, which caters to a wider demographic on meal selection, curated grocery offerings, and price point.”
He added, “with our ready-to-eat brand, Factor, which we acquired last year, we’re able to provide U.S. customers with a delicious meal delivery service that requires zero prep.”
Looking forward, Voss said HelloFresh will continue to look for and consider strategic acquisitions as a way to strengthen both its US and global footprint.
“We believe there are interesting segments out there that make strategic sense for our business and our customers. We will continue to evaluate if and how to enter those segments throughout the coming year and beyond,” he said.
On a global level this is already playing out with the recent launch of HelloFresh in Italy and Norway, and the launch of its Green Chef brand in the UK last summer. Likewise, it recently invested in Russian meal kit market leader Chefmarket and the acquired Australian ready-to-eat meal manufacturer Youfoodz. Voss said.
Ultimately, he concluded, “with a strong multi-brand strategy in place, we offer a tailored experience to effectively address a wide variety of customer needs.”