Why are companies like HelloFresh and Blue Apron thriving? Is it because of their social media game? Their product? The convenience? Or is it all of these combined that keeps people subscribed?
How are these companies disrupting grocery shopping and cooking industries? Let’s start by looking at what they have in common; these meal delivery kits offer automatic delivery, customization or preference and implement social media to properly advertise and engage with their subscribers.
HelloFresh uses primarily Twitter and Instagram for their engagement. With 250k followers on Instagram and 27.3k on Twitter, the meal delivery mogul uses these platforms to display their meals, various recipes and polls to better understand their customer. They even promote social media engagement by honoring subscribers photos of their cooked meals and tweeting them for a #HallOfFame photo of the week.
Starting at $9.99 per serving, HelloFresh allows you to preselect your menu for the week and it is delivered to your doorstep the day you choose for delivery. There is a Classic Plan, Veggie Plan and Family Plan at $8.74 per serving. Shipping is free and meals take roughly 30 minutes to cook.
Rival, Blue Apron, founded in 2012 collects 1.8M likes on their Facebook page where they share meals they offer, partnerships with West Elm and Pottery Barn offering perks to consumers and new features about their business. For example, they rolled out a beverage delivery service including wine with their food delivery.
However, their pricing model varies from HelloFresh’s. Their Two Person Plan starts at $9.99 per serving, plus an additional $7.99 for shipping. What is also different about Blue Apron is they require an account to be able to see their pricing models. Alternately, HelloFresh displays it right on their website. Blue Apron’s family plan is $8.99 per serving with free shipping or $71.92
With understanding the models of HelloFresh and Blue Apron, what effect is this having on the grocery business? With food delivered right to the doorstep with ingredients and instructions, who even ventures to the grocery store anymore?
Blue Apron claims the grocery store ingredients per meal is “70% more expensive.” In one experiment, a woman looked up the ingredients and prices for the three most popular Blue Apron meals; Pork & Mustard, Tandoori Chicken and Nashville Catfish. The total was $102.31 while shopping for the cheapest prices available from Fresh Direct. This is a lot more expensive than $9.99 x 3, putting the meal delivery service way ahead for a price point.
Blue Apron went public June 2017 followed by HelloFresh’s IPO in November of 2017. The two dominate the market share of meal delivery service. Blue Apron is worth an estimated $800 million while HelloFresh is reportedly worth $1.6 billion.
With the proven success these meal kit companies have obtained, possibly from convenience, customers have alluded that is much more than the convenience that keeps them subscribed. Users of Blue Apron and HelloFresh have stated, they love the “convenience, the freshness, the easy, foolproof instructions and built-in portion control; some make it into a fun at-home activity to do with loved ones.”
When searching #BlueApron on twitter, their consumers are very engaged; sharing images of preparing meals with friends and family, tweeting about the deliciousness of their kit, or even engaging about the meal service for dinner later that night.
#HelloFresh is no different. With 327k posts on Instragram with #HelloFresh, the company’s subscribers are very engaged with the service. Furthermore, since this business is so predominantly based off of preference (gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, etc.), it’s vital the meal delivery services remain in touch with their consumer base, constantly adjusting and improving customer experience.
As stated earlier, HelloFresh prides themselves off of user engagement through their #HallOfFame photo of the week which consists of a subscriber’s cooked meal from the company. They also promote the #GetCooking which usually involves content on tips for cooking or recipes for the holidays. #HelloFreshPics has generated 140k pictures tagged on Instagram with further consumer engagement.
Blue Apron is taking their social media and digital engagement to the next level with the podcast launched in fall 2017 with various topics revolved around cooking, eating and food. Blue Apron sponsors the podcast, “Why We Eat What We Eat” with host Cathy Erway. The objective is to “investigate the unseen forces that shape our eating habits. We’ll tackle a kale conspiracy, how to get your kids to quit being so picky and the epicenter of the potluck scene, and more.” …and you guessed it; their consumers are already engaging on social media with podcast #1.
While yes, it’s convenience, deliciousness and efficiency that is driving this product, it’s also the social media engagement that Blue Apron and HelloFresh have relied so heavily on. What is even more impressive is the engagement they receive back from their subscribers. The meal delivery service has used social media to disrupt the grocery and food business; time will tell whether grocery stores will attempt to win back their shoppers.