Meal kits are the latest and greatest on the food-prep scene, aiming to make meal time easier, healthier, and more convenient for consumers.
The kits, which can be purchased in stores or ordered online for delivery, offer pre-portioned ingredients and recipe instructions for a meal to be cooked at home.
A Harris Poll shows 25% of adults surveyed have purchased a meal kit in 2016 and 70% of meal kit purchasers are still actively purchasing meal kits.
Among meal kit purchasers, the top reasons for buying include saving time on meal planning (46%) and the short prep and cook time (45%).
Saving time is such a critical factor that even 44% of those who are no longer actively purchasing meal kits say they would consider doing so again due to the time saved on meal planning.
The poll was conducted online on 2,015 U.S. adults aged 18+ between December 27 and 29, 2016, including 474 who have purchased a meal kit in the past 12 months either in-store or online.
Rounding out the top five reasons for purchasing are saving time on grocery shopping (37%), trying new recipes (36%), and the healthy recipes (34%).
A majority of active meal kit purchasers agree that meal kit dinners are healthier than prepared foods from their local grocery store.
Seafood-based meals may be one of the new recipes that meal kits encourage buyers to try as 66% of active purchasers say they eat seafood more often when purchasing meal kits.
When it comes to the contents of the meal kits, a vast majority of active purchasers appear to be very satisfied.
Some 92% of respondents said they are satisfied with the quality of the produce in their meal kits and with how the fresh meat is packaged (91%).
While healthiness is clearly important, when it comes to meats, 89% of purchasers say they would be satisfied with regular (i.e., not organic) meat.
Room for improvement
While the list of benefits is lengthy, there are also areas for improvement.
A majority of active purchasers are looking to feed their sweet tooth as well, with 86% saying they would add dessert to their meal kit if the option was available.
Among those who have purchased previously but are no longer doing so today, nearly half say that a low cost would influence them to purchase.
Over one-third would also be influenced to purchase meal kits if they were available in their local grocery store.
“Consumers wanting convenience is here to stay, and providing a full-meal solution clearly meets a need for consumers,” said Meagan Nelson, associate client director of Nielsen’s Fresh Growth & Strategy team.
“There is ample opportunity for both delivery and in-store options to capitalize on that need.