Online Services Offer Consumers Ready-To-Cook Ingredients

Blue Apron offers consumers fresh foods ordered online and delivered to their doors.
Blue Apron offers consumers fresh foods ordered online and delivered to their doors.

Busy consumers feel like they have less time than ever to do the basics, like meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. To solve this problem, some innovative new online services have taken the gruntwork out of meal-related tasks, to help consumers enjoy healthy, home-cooked meals without the hassle. They put together meals based on consumer lifestyles and diets, the number of people who need to be fed per family and location. Then, they ship the box of ingredients to your door with a meal recipe. All consumers have to do is put the meal together.

Each service offers optional automated, weekly delivery with no minimum obligation and allows customers to skip weeks they don’t need deliveries.

With meals starting at $9.99 per person, Blue Apron keeps the options healthy, at 500 to 700 calories per serving. Most meals take 35 minutes to prepare, on average. Pre-portioned ingredients save time and reduce waste, and each meal includes easy-to-follow, printed recipe cards

Blue Apron says it offers “Premium seasonal ingredients from artisanal purveyors, with an emphasis on sustainable practices.” It claims its meals include specialty ingredients consumers can’t find on their own, that are “fresher than the supermarket.”

It delivers to the eastern and western halfs of the U.S., including 25 states and parts of 15 states.

Delivering to the entire Eastern half of the U.S., including 30 states, Hello Fresh offers Omnivore and Herbivore meals starting at $9.08 per person. It also provides opportunities for e-Giftcards, so customers can send meals to others. HelloFresh has been in business since 2012 and has delivered more than 10 million meals since then.

Its website touts food waste as a reason to subscribe to its services:

“Did you know that the average American throws away 40 percent of the food they buy? With HelloFresh we eliminate excess waste by providing you with the exact, premeasured ingredients you need to make a complete meal. We deliver everything from the first pinch of spice, to the last garnish of herbs! Not to mention we save you from aimlessly purchasing extra food at the grocery store!”

Delivering to 80 percent of the continental U.S., Plated meals are slightly pricier, at $12 per plate. As a perk, members get discounted plate pricing, saving $3 per plate.

Plated emphasizes social responsibility and sustainability by using local and seasonal produce, and sourcing meats from local, family-owned purveyors. It partners with sustainably responsible companies like Sea to Table to make sure its fish is always fresh, and wild-caught when possible.

Recipes come in a 100 percent recyclable, biodegradable box, with ingredients packed fresh and pre-portioned to cut back on waste.

Could These Be Your Customer Or Your Competitor?

Most of these services boast that they use fresh, sustainable and locally grown or produced ingredients. Could they be potential customers for greenhouse veggie growers?

Another option: Cut out the food miles for these delivery services and and join forces with local meat and fish producers to create your own recipes and offer wholesome, pre-packaged meals. You could sell at farmers’ markets or local retail grocers. Throw in a local brew or bottle of wine to increase your margin.


Leave a Reply

More From Grow Initiative...
Lavandula 'Meerlo' (Sunset Western Garden Collection)

March 3, 2015

Why You Will Still Grow Today’s Big Perennial 10 Years From Now

What will be the next big perennial? Breeders say it takes more than a splashy plant to distinguish itself in the market. Therefore, the question is not what will be the next big perennial, but rather what perennial performs well enough in the garden to have staying power in the market for years to come.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Avoid Surprises On The Delivery Dock

A call in advance about problems with a plant shipment to a retailer you supply goes a long way toward customer satisfaction.

Read More
Janeen Wright

March 2, 2015

Deliver Plant Quality That Trumps Price [Opinion]

The industry's goal is to have loyal customers who return to the same plants time and time again, not because of price, but owing to a plant brand that shouts top-notch garden performance and is synonymous with excellence, which gives them the secure knowledge that their investment will be worth every hard-earned cent.

Read More
Latest Stories
Smart Herb Garden

March 2, 2015

Smartpot Uses Sensors And Cartridges To Ensure Success …

Click & Grow helps make it simple for consumers to grow their own herbs and spices at home, even if they have little experience with plants.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Student Flash Mob At TPIE Has Roots In Floriculture

The local FFA students who entertained TPIE attendees in 2014 and 2015 received industry donations of plants and a greenhouse structure to help expand their horticultural program.

Read More

February 12, 2015

GROW Perspective: What Is It You Do Again?

The industry is very good at talking about what we do and how we do it, but has almost completely lost touch with talking about why this work is important. As an industry, we need to promote our professions as vital to healthier living.

Read More
bee photo

February 11, 2015

26 Ways Growers Improve The Green Industry

In Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked how your operation is living the GROW Initiative’s five pillars: How are you driving consumer success, cultivating new customers, demanding quality, investing in the industry and sharpening business management? Through your candid responses, we learned about some of the ideas you’ve implemented and steps you’re taking for 2015. Here are just a few.

Read More
Noble Foundation

February 3, 2015

Lloyd Noble Scholars Program Application Period Now Ope…

The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation is offering college students an opportunity to work side-by-side with the Noble Foundation’s renowned agricultural consultants and researchers through the Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture program, a summer internship that provides students the opportunity to enhance their in-class education with real-world application and experiences.

Read More

January 7, 2015

GROW Summit 2014 Homes In On The Issues That Keep You U…

During Greenhouse Grower’s third annual GROW Summit in December a number of ideas, questions and calls-to-action transpired. Here are a few of the highlights.

Read More

January 6, 2015

Growers Resolve To Educate Public About Their Operation…

See what growers plan to work on for their 2015 business resolutions.

Read More

December 22, 2014

National Garden Bureau Launches Therapeutic Garden Prog…

National Garden Bureau has chosen the Growing Solutions Farm in Chicago as the first beneficiary of its annual fundraising effort "Growing For Futures."

Read More

December 19, 2014

Hydroponic Food Production Course Serves Up Life Lesson…

Students in the new HORT 331X Hydroponic Food Crop Production course at Iowa State University are producing more food than they can eat, so they began donating the vegetables they produce to a local food pantry and free meal program.

Read More

December 8, 2014

“The Cheapest Generation” Will Be Tomorrow&…

Members of the Millennial generation aren’t buying cars and houses the way their parents did, and according to a recent article from The Atlantic titled “The Cheapest Generation,” it might be more than an effect of a bad economy. So what does this mean for horticulture? Industry members weigh in.

Read More
Katie Nickolaus

November 25, 2014

Proven Winners Names 2014 Scholarship Winners

Looking to promote industry leaders of the future, Proven Winners has established a $15,000 scholarship program that awards students in three distinct areas - breeding, marketing and growing.

Read More

November 24, 2014

GROW Perspective: We Need To Think Bigger

Garry Grueber of Cultivaris and Global Breadfruit says the horticulture industry must evolve to help solve the problems of world hunger and food insecurity.

Read More

November 13, 2014

NY SunWorks’ Greenhouse Project Aims To Build 100 Labs …

NY SunWork's Greenhouse Project aims to build 100 labs by 2020. With 15 greenhouse project labs built and 11 more in development, it’s on its way to reaching that goal.

Read More

November 4, 2014

Millennials Rank Gardening Among Top 5 Leisure Activiti…

United Kingdom consumers, aged 25 to 35, have rated gardening as a top five favorite leisure activity.

Read More
Ken Altman

October 27, 2014

GROW Perspective: Why I Give Back To The Industry

Ken Altman of Altman Plants knows a thing or two about the green industry, including the importance of contributing to the industry he loves.

Read More

October 21, 2014

Plants, Gardens Of The Future Will Be Radically Differe…

Over the next 20 to 30 years, Garry Grueber of Cultivaris and Global Breadfruit says the horticulture industry will need to address such issues as population growth, feeding a hungry world, less availability of water and land resources, rampant climate change and increased focus on the environment and sustainability.

Read More

October 13, 2014

Costa Farms Celebrates Indoor Plant Week With A College…

Cost Farms kicks off 2014 Indoor Plant Week by sharing plants with college students amid song and dance.

Read More

October 7, 2014

Ohio State Horticulture Senior Receives Prestigious Shi…

Amy Miller, a senior majoring in horticulture at The Ohio State University, is the recipient of the 2014-15 Shinoda Scholar of the Year award.

Read More