Blue Apron is Bringing Home the Bacon

Market Research Analyst

Recent speculation of a Blue Apron IPO has brought a lot of attention to the world of meal-prep delivery services. Too busy to figure out what to eat but still feel productive enough to cook? Meal-prep kits are the answer! Since 2012, companies such as Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and Plated have made home cooking more accessible to everyone by delivering pre-portioned ingredients directly to your door. Amateur cooks across the country are devouring this service – industry sales have grown over 500% since 2014, according to 1010data.

 

Not only is this a growing industry, but it’s also one that’s attracting repeat customers. In fact, we found that 77% of customers who tried out meal-kit services during the past two years placed two or more orders, and 48% placed five or more orders. Due to its explosive growth and engaged customer base, 1010data wanted to further explore this booming industry. By analyzing Blue Apron, HelloFresh, and Plated from January 2014 to September 2016, 1010data determined that Blue Apron is dominating this space and generates more than 3x the sales than its closest competitor.

 

Biggest Piece of the Pie

 

 

Blue Apron owns most of this space with about three of every four dollars being spent on their recipes, but don’t discount HelloFresh, which is nearly four times the size of Plated (Chart 1). Pricing is pretty similar across all brands (Blue Apron and HelloFresh are $10/person while Plated is $12/person), so the market share difference is primarily driven by customer penetration.

 

When comparing the five boroughs of New York City, Blue Apron still has the lion’s share across all boroughs, but HelloFresh and Plated’s share varies significantly across boroughs (Chart 2). Plated is second in Manhattan, while HelloFresh does well in Queens and the Bronx. Manhattan (77%) and Brooklyn (20%) combined make up most of the revenue in New York City, so focusing on the market in these boroughs is paramount. It could be a factor of price or which subway lines each company advertises on, but either way, New Yorkers across the board spend most on Blue Apron.

 

 

Consumer’s Cup of Tea

 

We know Blue Apron takes the cake when it comes to market share, but does that translate into customer loyalty? We looked at consumers who have made more than one order across any of the meal-prep brands and found that Blue Apron has the highest proportion of “loyal” customers. 89% of Blue Apron’s customers have only made repeat purchases from Blue Apron’s delivery service (Chart 3.1). Comparatively, 73% of HelloFresh’s customers (Chart 3.2) and just 60% of Plated’s customers (Chart 3.3) were brand loyal. Plated’s customers appear the most adventurous, with 8% having tried all three services over the past two years (Chart 3.3).

 

Blue Apron’s loyal customers aren’t the only ones who have taken a liking to the brand. This year, HelloFresh and Plated customers most often turned to Blue Apron when trying out a second brand. 1010data analysis shows that about one-fourth of HelloFresh and Plated customers have also tried Blue Apron (Charts 3.2 and 3.3 respectively). No matter how you slice it, Blue Apron is still the most preferred brand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Apron customers clearly get a taste of something they like, but how long does that last? Over the last two years, more than 50% of consumers that try out Blue Apron end up placing a second order in the following week (Chart 4). Despite HelloFresh having more brand loyal customers than Plated, Plated customers are actually more consistent than both HelloFresh and Blue Apron customers. Two weeks after using Blue Apron is the point where we see the sharpest decline in returning customers, while for HelloFresh it is after three weeks. Plated, on the other hand, has the most gradual retention rate amongst the meal-prep brands. Chart 4 below indicates that while Blue Apron is still the big cheese, Plated and its customers are in it for the longer haul.

 

 

Last Course

 

1010data’s findings on market share and customer retention demonstrate that Blue Apron is the cream of the crop in the meal-prep delivery field, but this meal isn’t over. There are plenty of other entrants in this space, like Purple Carrot for vegans, and Peace Dish for southern comfort lovers, that also want a piece of the pie. Meal-prep delivery is just one element of a growing industry that is food delivery. Restaurant delivery services like Seamless and Eat24 have been around for years, but now grocery delivery is on the rise. Stay tuned as 1010data continues to report on the many facets of this booming business. For follow-up stories and past analyses of the restaurant, grocery, and food delivery space, follow our blog at https://www.1010data.com/company/blog/.

 

Methodology

1010data utilizes a number of sources of consumer spending data representing millions of consumers to provide an accurate assessment of online and offline retail sales, market share, and more. Our data enables clients to track consumer behavior using high-quality, granular datasets that are often difficult to source, cleanse, and consolidate.

 

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