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HelloFresh meal-kit service lands in Canada

Global meal-kit market expected to hit $10 billion in next four years

Berlin-based HelloFresh has brought its meal-kit subscription service to Canada.

The company was founded in 2011 and now operates in nine countries, including the U.S., U.K., Germany and Switzerland. It launched in Canada in June.

The weekly service delivers insulated meal boxes with pre-portioned ingredients and step-by-step recipes, to people’s homes. The idea is to give time-strapped consumers a way to cook “from scratch,” without having to plan meals and shop for ingredients.

READ: Martha Stewart gets into meal-kit business

“We create the recipes every week, we send them to doors and they get to cook nutritious, delicious, balanced, convenient meals at home,” said Ian Brooks, managing director of HelloFresh Canada.

In Ontario, where HelloFresh is first launching, customers can choose two options at the Pronto Box, with three meals for two to four people, and the Family Box, with three meals for four people. The price per meal ranges from $11 to $13.

“The Pronto box works well for who have careers—maybe they’re in a condo downtown and they both work until 7 or 8 o’clock at night,” said Brooks. “They like to eat well, but they don’t want to eat out every night of the week.”

Meals in the Family Box, meanwhile, are designed to be “kid-friendly crowd pleasers.”

Brooks said one key differentiator between HelloFresh and other meal-kit subscription services is its focus on kids. “Every single one of our Family Box meals has to have ingredients that work for kids… They are recipes the whole family will like, no matter the age or culinary interests.”

Customers can also specify dietary preferences. For instance, vegans won’t come home to find a box of steaks on their doorstep.

READ: How to be a better grocerant

HelloFresh is among several companies aiming to cash in on the burgeoning subscription meal-kit business. Others include Chef’s Plate and in Canada, and Blue Apron in the U.S. While sales figures aren’t available for Canada, a Technomic report says that the global meal-kit market topped US$1 billion in 2015, and is projected to reach US$10 billion by 2020.

Brooks said HelloFresh uses local ingredients whenever possible, and the meats were raised without antibiotics and are hormone free.

Another selling point, he said, is the service helps reduce food waste. “The average Canadian family throws out $30 in food every week, and with HelloFresh you don’t have that waste,” said Brooks.

Brooks said that HelloFresh is interested in finding additional Canadian suppliers to work with. Currently, suppliers include companies at the Ontario Food Terminal as well as farmer networks.

Brooks would like to expand HelloFresh across Canada, but for now, the service is only available in Ontario.

READ: The rise of savoury snacks

With around four million families in the current delivery area (Windsor to Ottawa and Toronto to the Sault Ste. Marie), “in theory I have a heck of a big market,” said Brooks. “I just need to convince people to try the product because in my opinion, once you try it, you don’t go back.”

HelloFresh plans to run referral promotions in order to encourage subscribers to recommend the service to friends.

Brooks joined HelloFresh in February to launch the business in Canada. Before that he worked at McKinsey Company, the management consulting firm, and also at Johnson & Johnson.

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