Stumbling Blocks of Meal-Kit and Grocery Delivery and Flash-Freezing Meals to Lab Grown Meat
Around the world, farmers, cooks, innovators, and entrepreneurs are developing technologies to address issues in every aspect of food system. Food tech specifically focused on preventing and recovering food waste are changing the way eaters interact with food – and helping them save money. Here are a few such companies with food tech solutions, which are working to reduce food waste.
Though meal delivery is currently seeing greater investment interest than grocery, the two share a number of stumbling blocks. Unit costs in the on-demand market combined with relentless competition together have generated a tough start for food delivery beginners. The main factor playing into the success or failure of a meal or grocery delivery company is a company’s ability to manage operating and supply chain costs.
A startup in Chicago called KitcheNet wants to drive – literally – the meal kit services in a new direction by combining the buyer-club concept to get fresher, healthier food into food-insecure areas. It’s estimated that 42.2 million Americans live in these areas – also called food deserts – where access to food is inconsistent and uncertain, to say nothing of the quality. Clearly there’s market for more convenient food at affordable prices and there are some startups like KitcheNet and Dinnerly trying to fill this gap.
While some entrepreneurs and VC firms, including SOSV are looking beyond meal kits and into the realm of artificial food to pioneer a new culinary age. Many established organizations and upstarts, alike, are remaining focused on enhancing the delivery model. Amazon recently announced its plan to expand its food print beyond grocery delivery into ready-to-eat meals. Similarly in London, Andreas Jaegle, too, is tacking the ever-growing meal delivery vertical with is company Everdine; which differentiates itself from other delivery-based companies by providing flash-freezing meals to consumers. The food world is on the brink of unchartered territory and startups like Everdine have the opportunity to make a lasting impact.
Wise Apple is a meal-delivery service with a unique twist. It specifically services parents, who deal with the daily struggle of preparing a healthy and tasty lunch for their kids, while juggling the rest of the elements of their busy lives. Despite the waning interest from VC’s into this category, Wise Apple managed to raise 3.6 million in seed financing, for a total of $4.3 million. The new round was led by Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Levy Family Partners, with participation from Chicago Ventures, Greycroft, BoxGroup, and Irish Angels.
Depending on where you live in the country, you can get groceries delivered through platforms like Instacart or Amazon Fresh. You can order all the ingredients you need to cook a meal with meal-kit services like Blue Apron. Or you can feast on ready-made meals from the likes of Thistle and Munchery. You might even get your favorite General’s chicken delivered on GrubHub or DoorDash a few times a week. So in this stacked market, which services do people favor? Here’s a report from Priceonomics customer Earnest to answer a number of questions about this space.