Are meal kits everywhere you turn lately? 

On your shelves, too, maybe? 

The past year has been one of rapid change for the meal kit business. Remember when Blue Apron was riding high hopes of a blockbuster IPO? 

That was only a year ago. Over the past few years, I’ve watched the meal kit business flourish, and retailers try to figure out where it fits. Is it as easy as a grab-and-go bag of ingredients? 

Those who have tried this scenario figured out it isn’t. But what we haven’t figured out is how this is going to work for retail. Consumers are looking for quick, convenient, delicious...and affordable. 

Oh, and it can’t have too much packaging. (See my experience with Kroger’s new meal kit gig Home  Chef for more about that.) 

And they don’t want to keep up with a subscription, which is what’s turning us to retail in the first place.  It’s clear the subscription model can’t keep up with attrition.

Do consumers really crave the experience of cooking from scratch — or are they just looking for some shortcuts that don’t taste like, and give the impression of, frozen “TV  dinners?” 

I think that’s a more likely scenario. My husband Brian takes leftovers to work almost every day, and when we have something particularly smell-worthy, his coworkers always compliment.

He says it’s usually the people eating one of those sad tray meals you can get for $3 or $4 in the frozen food section. Cooking from scratch and taking leftovers is far and away better than that, and a better value, but not everyone is willing to put forth the effort. And, quite honestly, keeping up with meal prep, kids, sports, laundry and everything else on my to-do list is exhausting. I want something to make my life easier. I’m still looking, and so are you.

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