Nothing tastes like home cooking, but finding recipes, buying ingredients, and whipping everything together takes more time and energy than many millennials want to spend in the kitchen. Enter meal-kit delivery services, a segment of the food market that’s expected to grow to between $3 and $5 billion over the next decade. Companies deliver individually wrapped ingredients, along with plain-simple recipes, to their customers’ doors for a premium price. Local growers and food purveyors are getting in on the action, too, by partnering with meal-kit vendors and forming mutually beneficial relationships.
Local farmers and artisanal food purveyors benefit with recurring revenue streams. Meanwhile, meal-kit vendors are leveraging their local ingredients and regional recipes to differentiate themselves in a crowded market and justify a higher price tag. Using local suppliers can also help save on shipping costs, since food typically has to be kept chilled to avoid spoilage, and it ultimately creates a more eco-friendly model for meal-kit delivery.
Here are five examples of meal-kit vendors taking a localized approach.
1. Just Add Cooking: Partnering with local food suppliers
Just Add Cooking is a Boston-based meal-kit delivery service with ingredients sourced almost exclusively from the New England area. Just Add Cooking has partnered with New England producers and suppliers, including bakeries, farmers, and seafood purveyors, to minimize the environmental impact and increase the freshness of its deliveries. Because Just Add Cooking is taking a local approach to meal-kit delivery, the company’s team hand delivers its orders. Just Add Cooking is only available in the Boston area. Pricing starts at $69 per week for a four person box.
2. Local Crate: Socially-responsible meal-kit deliveries
Meal-kit delivery startups have a reputation for wastefulness, but Local Crate is trying to change that image by building its business in a “socially responsible” way. Local Crate shipments are stocked with produce and meats from the state of Minnesota, where Local Crate is based. Recipes are planned based on what foods are currently in season and available from nearby suppliers. Local Crate has also partnered with local restaurants and chefs. Local Crate boxes are packed in St. Paul and delivered exclusively within the state of Minnesota. Local Crate costs $13.50 per serving, or $54 total, for the minimum weekly order.
3. Munchery: Meals prepared by local chefs
Munchery is taking a slightly different approach, in that it works with in-house chefs who deliver food to consumers from local kitchens in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle. Munchery’s chefs create their menus based on what produce is in season locally. The company says it uses locally sustainable ingredients whenever possible. Meals are delivered by Munchery’s own delivery team on the same day they’re cooked. Munchery also offers ready-to-cook dinners with recipes designed by its team of chefs. Consumers can purchase meals individually or sign up for a membership that starts at $8.95 per month.
4. PeachDish: Seasonal ingredients sourced regionally
For people who live in the south, PeachDish is a meal-kit service that works directly with local farms in the Atlanta area. It’s because of these local partnerships that PeachDish says it’s able to source its ingredients before stores can get them. Subscribers can find a list of suppliers, which include artisanal purveyors making everything from olive oil to pickles, on PeachDish’s website. PeachDish ships to anywhere in the continental U.S. A standard box includes two-servings of two weekly dishes for $50.
5. Homegrown Foods: An organic meal delivery service
In the Twin Cities, consumers can use Homegrown Foods to get organic meals delivered to their doors. The company delivers everything people need to make home-cooked dinners from scratch, including seasonal recipes and pre-portioned ingredients, which are sourced from local and organic producers. Boxes are assembled by Homegrown Foods in the Twin Cities, and they’re driven directly to customers’ doors. Homegrown Foods publishes a list of its poultry, meat, seafood, and dairy providers on its website and says the majority of its produce is purchased locally. Pricing starts at $8 per person.
Know of other meal-kit delivery services focusing on local? Leave a description in the comments.
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.