HelloFresh brings meal kits to Canada

Subscription service aims to solve "What's for dinner?" problem

Berlin-based HelloFresh has brought its meal-kit subscription service to Canada.

The company was founded in 2011 and now serves nine markets globally, including the U.S. and United Kingdom.

The weekly service delivers insulated meal boxes with pre-portioned ingredients and step-by-step recipes, right to people’s homes. The idea is to give time-strapped consumers a way to cook “from scratch,” without having to plan meals and shop for ingredients.

“We create the recipes every week, we send them to [customers’] doors and they get to cook nutritious, delicious, balanced, convenient meals at home,” said Ian Brooks, managing director of HelloFresh Canada.

In Ontario, where HelloFresh is first launching, customers can choose two options at HelloFresh.ca—the Pronto Box, with three meals for two to four people, and the Family Box, with three meals for four people. The price per meal ranges from $11 to $13.

“The Pronto box works well for [couples] who have careers—maybe they’re in a condo downtown and they both work until 7 or 8 o’clock at night,” said Brooks. “They like to eat well, but they don’t want to eat out every night of the week.”

Meals in the Family Box, meanwhile, are designed to be “kid-friendly crowd pleasers.” Brooks said one key differentiator between HelloFresh and other meal-kit subscription services is the focus on kids. “Every single one of our Family Box meals has to have ingredients that work for kids… They are recipes the whole family will like, no matter the age or culinary interests.”

Brooks said HelloFresh uses local ingredients whenever possible, and the meats were raised without antibiotics and are hormone free. Another selling point is the service helps reduce food waste. “The average Canadian family throws out $30 in food every week, and with HelloFresh you don’t have that waste,” said Brooks.

While sales figures aren’t available for Canada, a Technomic report found that the global meal-kit market, which includes players like HelloFresh, Blue Apron and Plated, topped US$1 billion in 2015, and is projected to reach US$10 billion by 2020.

Brooks would like to expand HelloFresh across Canada, but for now, is focusing on Ontario. With around four million families in the current delivery area (Windsor to Ottawa and Toronto to the Sioux), “in theory I have a heck of a big market,” said Brooks. “I just need to convince people to try the product because in my opinion, once you try it, you don’t go back.”

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