Today, meal kits offer on-the-go consumers a quick and easy alternative to grocery shopping and meal preparation. Meal kits endeavour to provide pre-portioned ingredients and recipe instructions for a meal intended to be prepared/cooked at home, generally with considerably less prep time than a traditional home cooked meal.
In Canada, the meal kit market is still in its infancy. In fact, only 4% of households have purchased a meal kit in the past 12 months, compared to 25% of U.S. consumers. While 4% may seem small, it's worth noting that 80% of Canadian households that have purchased a meal kit have continued making purchases after their initial trial. The reason Canadian households are purchasing meal kits? Consumers are overwhelmingly looking to save time, whether it be on meal planning, meal prep, or grocery shopping. Meal kits are a convenience item for today's hectic lifestyles.
Meal kits present a clear opportunity to attract new customers. For example, 63% of consumers would consider purchasing a meal kit if they were less expensive. In addition, 30% would like to purchase meal kits at their local grocery store, opening a substantial opportunity for retailers in Canada to assemble the same meal components at an affordable price to open up this expanding market. Canadians’ desire for a healthier lifestyle creates another growth opportunity for meal kits, by offering better-for-you items to help consumers achieve their health goals. In fact, 54% of Canadians say they are willing to pay more for food and drinks that don’t contain undesirable ingredients.
In 2017, Canadian consumers made 2.3 billion shopping trips, down 7% from 2012 and resulting in 175 million fewer trips. Millennials in particular make the fewest trips, with 116 annual trips, compared with 193 by the Greatest Generation. Despite a decline in trip frequency, offering ready-to-go meal kits in store is one way that retailers can provide a new shopping experience that encourages consumers to spend on additional items in their basket instead of in other out-of-home channels, like restaurants.
As the Canadian grocery retail landscape continues to evolve, the road is filled with new and unique opportunities to align to consumers’ growing interest in new services and product offerings like meal kits. Companies that fail to innovate may be left behind.
Nielsen Homescan® Panelviews survey was conducted online within Canada between May 19 and June 8, 2017 among 5,374 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 182 have purchased a meal kit in the past 12 months.