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consumer, and is a great value-add for the store because they now
have a way to compete with the dinner-in-a-box model.”
“Meal kits are transforming a lot of different industries,” says
Mackenzie King, director of design research and insight at Lextant, a
“human experience firm” based in Columbus, Ohio, that works with
leading companies to help them understand what consumers want
and need out of their products and services. “We have even spoken to
real estate developers about meal kits. One said, ‘meal kits are trans-
forming the way we design our lobbies.’ From that perspective, they
need more refrigeration and space in the lobbies of apartment build-
ings,” she asserts.
Further, adds King, “We have had some appliance manufacturers come to us as well. They were trying to understand the meal kit
trend because people are getting these giant boxes with little packages
inside and they are putting them in the refrigerator in a way that is
different from how they traditionally shop for groceries.”
Managing the Hype
But supermarkets need not fret too much, according to several industry observers.
“It is easy to get caught up in the hype of these things,” says Nicholas
Fereday, a research analyst at Rubobank’s North America Wholesale
Group. “If you talk to some of these providers, this is a revolution, it
is a disruption and the supermarkets are going to be out of business.
Fereday cites Kroger, which is testing the Prep + Prepared meal kits
in three stores in Cincinnati.
“The meal kits are definitely going to be around, but they are not
going to take over the market. It is going to remain a niche, given the
price of these things,” Fereday says.
A SLIMMER PLAN
Marie Osmond lost 50 pounds on the Nutrisystem
diet plan, and her role as company spokesperson
has prompted millions of other Americans to switch
to the mail order diet plan.
The Nutrisystem plan offers customizable prepackaged meals designed to guide and teach its
customers how to eat well, lose weight and maintain
a healthy lifestyle. The plan is comprised of three
main components: portion control, balanced
nutrition and frequent meals, which educate and
encourage customers to live a healthy lifestyle without feeling the restrictions of a traditional diet.
“Nutrisystem has helped millions of people
lose weight over the last four decades and is the
number-one home delivery weight loss company,
shipping 185 million meals annually,” says Robin
Shallow, SVP, corporate communications and public
relations at the Fort Washington, Pa.-based company. “Millions of additional Nutrisystem items are
sold through Walmart.”
The plan includes over 150 different menu items,
including breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and desserts, supplemented with items purchased at the
Nutrisystem contains frozen and ready-to-go
packaged food items. “Customized orders and
fresh frozen are increasingly popular with ‘Uniquely
Yours’ emerging as a breakout hit,” Shallow says,
noting that once a customer submits an order it is
shipped direct to their home from one of the company’s seven warehouses.
“The program is designed to be complemented
by SmartCarbs and PowerFuels as outlined in a
Grocery Guide,” Shallow says. “SmartCarb grocery
add-ins are carbohydrate sources that register
low on the Glycemic index, and help people feel
full longer, such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice
and fresh vegetables. PowerFuels are add-ins that
consist of high quality proteins, such as meat, fish,
dairy and nuts. Nine out of 10 customers say that
no other program they’ve tried is easier to follow,
easier to say on or more convenient.”