Blue Apron is an online meal kit and delivery service that was born in 2012, when Matt Salzberg, Ilia Papas and Matt Wadiak prepared the first boxes to send to their friends and family from an apartment in New York City. Their goal was to make the experience of preparing high quality meals with special ingredients, accessible to anyone.
Since its launch, the company has expanded throughout the country, delivering 8 million meals per month in just seven years. It employs 1,647 people and in 2018, it generated revenues per $ 667.6 million. Blue Apron has developed an integrated and coordinated system with farmers and artisans, which delivers high quality food.
The company kept growing steadily from its launch until 2017 but in the last year, it began to lower its revenues and it had to do the same with its staff, which went from almost 3,000 full time employees in 2015, to 1,674 in the third quarter of the year.
Blue Apron Holdings
New York, New York, USA
Public Independent Company of NYSE
Blue Apron is part of the meal kit market which has at least 150 players in the US, where it remained as the leader with 35% share, until its competitors HelloFresh and Green Chef merged, keeping 36% and relegating it to second place.
The company only participates in this industry. The service begins when the customer chooses any meal to prepare within a menu of recipes that include Mediterranean dishes, quick dinners and customer favorites. Then the client receives a box directly to home, where a set of guaranteed fresh food and ingredients are inside a tightly sealed box. Finally, the “home chef” follows the recipe instructions step by step to prepare a special meal for guests.
Last December, it launched a collaboration with the American Diabetes Association to include in its menu at least two “diabetes friendly” recipes every week. It also announced the expansion of the “two-serving” menu to offer 11 recipes every week, adding more healthy options and according to dietary preferences such as vegetarian dishes, plant-forward, and low calories from an agreement with Weight Watchers International.
Blue Apron competitors include: Home Chef, Plated, Sun Basket, Hello Fresh, Bistro MD, Medifast, Trifecta, Veestro, Snap Kitchen and Peach Dish.
Founded in Chicago in 2013, Home Chef is an online platform where users can choose between different recipes and receive in their homes the ingredients and instructions to prepare all kinds of meals. Recipes are renewed every week, and customers can choose according to their preferences and applying caloric restriction criteria, and the portions are already pre-fractionated.
The service delivers more than 3 million dishes per month, and is available only in the United States, where nationwide distribution is made from centers located in Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles. With revenues of $ 255 million in 2017 and after achieving impressive growth since its launch, Home Chef was in third place in the Inc. 5000 ranking of fastest growing companies in the US. in 2018. In the meal kits market it is the third player, behind HelloFresh and Blue Apron, with more than 10% participation.
In 2018, the company was acquired by Kroger, the largest American supermarket chain, for $ 700 million. Later, their kits began to be sold in more than 700 Kroger grocery stores in the country, and distribution in retail points is expected to grow even more. In addition, it plans to incorporate more employees to the 750 it already has to support its expansion objectives.
Plated is a fast-growing delivery service of recipes and ingredients, which began in New York City in 2012, from a Nick Taranto and Josh Hix’s idea. A year later, Elana Karp joined to lead the culinary efforts of the company. It delivers pre-fractionated food and offers about 1,000 recipes. Its fish products are 100% local and it works with sustainable suppliers. In addition, it has invested heavily in the packaging, with an isolation method based on recycled materials. It has also stands out in technology, having launched an app available for iOS.
The entrepreneurship participated at the American television program Shark Tank in 2014, where it won a significant investment and achieved a huge boost in sales. It continued with an amazing growth rate, managing to employ almost 1,000 people, when the supermarket chainAlberstons announced its acquisition in 2017, for $200 million. Plated won the scale of a company with 2,300 stores in the U.S. and 35 million customers per week.
Sun Basquet is a meal kit company specialized in healthy foods, which was founded in San Francisco, California in 2014, by Adam Zbar and Chef Justine Kelly. Today it employs 1700 people between its corporate offices and three distribution centers to reach 48 states of the United States with the service. Its menu includes ten customizable plans composed of paleo, lean & clean, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean and diabetes friendly meals.
Its competitive advantage is to use organic ingredients, without antibiotics or hormones, pointing to specific dietary requirements; Sun Basquet was the first company in this business to use fully recyclable and compostable containers. All this has allowed it to offer a service30% more expensive than his competitors, obtaining an annual revenue of $ 275 million. Today, the company is valued at $ 508 million.
HelloFresh Group is the world’s leading meal kits company, which was founded in 2011 in Berlin, Germany and since 2017 is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The group has two units where United States is the main one representing 57% of its annual revenues in 2018. The international unit is made up of 12 markets in Europe; Sweden was the last to join in the 3Q 2019. It has offices in New York, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Zurich, Sydney and Toronto and delivers almost 70 million meals for its 2.61 million users worldwide. In 2018, it obtained revenues of$ 1,279.2 million.
In 2013, HelloFresh was launched in the United States and in 2018, with the acquisition of Green Chef –specialized in organic, vegan, gluten free and special diets– in the same market, it became the leader of market share surpassing Blue Apron and totalizing 1.48 million customers. With this merger, the group achieved synergies in its operations, logistics and supply. HelloFresh integrated Green Chef’s culinary teams to its operation in Colorado, where they share values associated with food quality and safety.
Bistro MD is a healthy food delivery service that targets people who want to lose weight through a daily plan. The team of professionals and doctors of the company put together a menu for the client, which is sent already cooked to the client’s door. Four different menus are offered: Standard weight loss, Gluten-free, Diabetes-friendly and Menopause weight loss plan.
The company was developed by the physician Caroline J. Cederquist in 2005 at her weight loss clinic in Naples, Florida. Today it employs 130 people and arrives with its service throughout the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. Its annual revenues are almost $ 6 million.
Medifast is a manufacturer and distributor of healthy products and programs that was founded in 1980 by doctor William Vitale in United States and eventually incorporated the meal kit delivery service throughout the country. The brand has been recommended by thousands of doctors, entered the ranking of the 100 most trustworthy companies of Forbes (2016/2017) and is composed of a staff of health professionals and experts in eCommerce and direct sales channels with 40 years of experience
Medifast has 420 employees and in 2018 it reached revenues of $ 501 million. In 2019, it announced the opening of its new operations in Singapore, seeking to serve the Asia Pacific market. It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange since 2014.
Trifecta Nutrition is a healthy and organic food delivery company that was created in 2015 in United States, that reaches revenues of $ 10 million a year and has 115 employees. Based in Sacramento, California, it offers different menus (keto, paleo, vegan, vegetarian) that are part of six plans to taste at home, in the office or in movement. Its dishes arrive already cooked and ready for consumption, according to the customer’s dietary requirements.
In addition, it offers advice and a community connected through technology. The company offers rotating menus and has the recipes of professional chefs like Mario Limaduran, seeking to balance all the macronutrients in the diet. Each year, it forms alliances with different sports and health care organizations.
Veestro is a gourmet food delivery service which menus are based on plants, that are sent to the customer’s home ready to consume throughout the US. The company is based in Los Angeles, California and has about 40 employees.
From its website, it serves more than 2,200 subscribers and its annual revenues reach $ 2 million. The business model includes a subscription option for the menu plan for weight loss, and another à la carte. Last year, it announced the opening of a new distribution center located in New Castle to serve the East Coast. In addition, it incorporated 100% recyclable packaging.
Snap Kitchen is a healthy food delivery service that was launched in 2010 in Austin, Texas, and has 40 locations in Austin, Huston, Dallas, Chicago and Philadelphia, although it will soon release new ones. Its delivers prepared meals with a price range from $ 3.99 to $ 11.99, and also offers a customizable subscription service that allows customers to save money. Its menu offers a wide selection of meals, snacks, fresh juices prepared daily and nutritionally controlled plans.
Although the company does not disclose its financial data, it was known that in the last year it has doubled its workforce and has seen its venture funding grow by more than 60%. In addition, its annual revenue reached $ 4 million. It is estimated that sales reached 5 million dishes in the last two years. The company is registering very rapid growth.
PeachDish is a meal kit delivery startup, that was created by Hadi Irvani in 2013. It is based in Atlanta, Georgia and arrives with its service to 48 continental states of the United States.
Each year, delivers more than 200,000 meals and its specialty are the southern dishes, bringing to the table the products offered by the farm, seasonal and from local suppliers; it also sells loose ingredients from its website. Although its revenue figures have not been disseminated, it is known that in its first three years, it achieved a growth of 400%.
The top 10 Blue Apron competitors are: Home Chef, Plated, Sun Basquet, HelloFresh, Bistro MD, Medifast, Trifecta, Veestro, Snap Kitchen and PeachDish. Together they have raised over 2.3B between their estimated 5,400 employees. Blue Apron has 1,674 employees and is ranked 2nd among it’s top 10competitors.