Renewable Farming

Food marketing opportunity: Sell quality fruit, veggies, or meat to a meal-kit provider

Farmers producing fresh, flavorful foods are finding a new niche market: Supplying fruit, vegetables and other tasty ingredients to companies which deliver “kit” meals to busy people who want to escape the junk-food syndrome.

Startup firms have made such inroads into the marketplace, with about $200 million of investment capital last year, that the major food processors are crowding into the home-delivery business.

Instead of a pizza delivery, the firms offer fresh, flavorful and probably organic to satisfy consumers’ craving for “healthy” food options. The number of busy moms and dads who want non-GMO and upscale lunches and dinners without hours of shopping, storing and other preparation is rising rapidly.

The Dec. 5 Wall Street Journal carries a feature story on this trend, titled “Big Food Battles Start-Ups for Dinner-in-a-box.” It should be accessible to you at this link.

Some of the home-delivery firms focus on delivering premium-quality fresh produce for home preparation, including recipes. Example: Hello Fresh, which originated in Germany and expanded to the American market. Firms like this need to shorten the fresh-veggie supply chain, and look for reliable growers to deliver direct to their processing and shipping points.

Blue Apron emphasizes that “Our chefs partner with trusted farmers” and thus know the origins of their fruit and veggies — unlike chains which simply buy bulk from distributors.  The Blue Apron guarantee is “Incredible ingredients every time, or we’ll make it right.”

Blue Apron custom-packs its kits to suit each family’s taste buds. 

Green Chef features its direct suppliers on its website, which provides a connection between the original farmer and final consumer. You know exactly where your turkey, your mushrooms or your kale  originated.

Home Chef posts a video on its website featuring a television news report describing how Home Chef’s delivered meals are cheaper than buying the same premium ingredients at the store.

There are many companies racing to supply this demand for quality food. Earlier this year, Forbes magazine published a “Guide to the Best Meal Kit Delivery Services.” Searching the web yourself could possibly unearth a meal-kit supplier near you who is looking for farm-fresh organic eggs, tasty grass-fed beef or other reliable meal ingredients.  A market research firm, Market, last summer reported on “12 Meal Kit Delivery Services to Watch.”