Meal kit and meal delivery brands vie for marketshare and expansion

In Cassandra’s recent Picture of Health report, we noted that since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve seen a boom in the market for meal kit and meal delivery services, especially as restaurants and food brands alike have had to pivot rapidly to address consumer shifts towards preparing food at home. In order to differentiate their products and services from that of their competitors, brands in this space are leaning heavily into health and wellness and the elevated and personalized nature of their offerings.


The meal kit delivery vertical is rife with competition, especially in light of last year. To stand out in a crowded field, Blue Apron launched "Wellness 360," a campaign that touts (and doubles down on) the benefits of cooking at home. The goal of the initiative is to support and continue propagating consumers' massive pivot to cooking at home since the start of the pandemic; to this end, the language of the campaign was couched in vernacular brands in the holistic wellness space deploy. This was smart on Blue Apron’s part, for positioning their offerings as part of a larger wellness-forward lifestyle is sure to resonate with consumers, who are coming up on almost one year of being largely homebound and subsequently want to make healthier choices while they’re a little less out and about.


"Chef-to-Consumer" food tech company CookUnity recently closed a $15.5 million Series A funding round, which the company plans to use to expand nationally. Right now, CookUnity counts Brooklyn as its home base, but will likely aim to set up additional kitchens in California and Texas. In the crowded meal kit and food delivery subscription vertical, CookUnity differentiates itself with a unique model: one wherein patrons can select from over 300 chef-crafted meals—starting at $10.49 per meal—with a weekly subscription. In this way, CookUnity affords subscribers the restaurant-quality food they crave, but delivers it directly to their homes.


San Francisco-based meal delivery start-up Thistle is aiming to have bicoastal market penetration sometime in 2021, and plans to do so with a recently closed $10.3 million Series B funding round. The tech-enabled and plant-forward brand positions its healthy offerings as a go-to, especially amid the pandemic. Thistle’s Co-Founder and CEO Ashwin Cheryian spoke to this point directly, saying: “The pandemic has revealed many challenges within the food system and increased awareness of the paramount role that diet plays in an individual’s health. [...] With this funding, we’ll be able to support even more people through scientific, evidence-based principles of nutrition that lead to optimal wellness, enjoyable eating, and a healthier planet.”