Recipe Boxes: Where Do Consumers Stand?

With almost two-thirds of us working from home, the absence of the daily commute has given us that extra bit of time each day. Over a third (34%) of consumers agree that they’ve been cooking more at home, with 42% saying they have more time to cook. However, lockdown has also brought challenges in getting hold of certain ingredients and one in four consumers agree that they’ve had to buy alternatives to their usual products when grocery shopping.

When ingredients can be hard to come by and grocery store queues lengthy, recipe boxes rise up the agenda as a convenient solution. The combination of having more time to cook and being more experimental is made even easier when all the ingredients are sent to you, pre-measured – and therefore an added bonus of no waste. Last week, Gousto made it into the top five meal delivery operators in terms of share of penetration for the first time. Demand for its recipe boxes is so high right now that it isn’t currently taking on any new customers.  

The top three reasons driving consumers to use recipe boxes are: tasty recipes (33%), the convenience and ease (30%) and variety (29%). In addition, this solution also taps into key consumer trends such as sustainability – just over a fifth of consumers say they use recipe boxes because they cut down on food waste. Similarly, health is a key driver for 20% of consumers and recipe box providers such as HelloFresh! offer highly customisable boxes, allowing them to appeal to different lifestyles and those with specific dietary requirements.

Those consumers who have used a recipe box - or would definitely consider using one - are more likely to be younger consumers (18-34), those in socio-economic group ABC1 and in terms of location, those based in the London and the Midlands over-index.

Naturally, recipe box services do not appeal to everyone. The top three barriers cited were expense (50%), still needing to do a grocery shop regardless (29%) and preferring to use my own recipes (26%). It’s clear that communicating value for money – perhaps by focussing on the lack of waste - will be key in boosting appeal. Bundle boxes catering for different meal occasions throughout the day could also help to overcome the barrier of still needing to do a grocery shop.

The benefits of recipe boxes – such as the convenience of getting meals delivered to your home and not having to source individual ingredients – play particularly well to the current challenges created by the UK lockdown and this is clearly reflected in the strong performance of the likes of Gousto. But what about when restrictions are lifted? Given that the top reasons for using recipe boxes centre around the taste and variety of the recipes, convenience and ease – none of which will be any less relevant post-lockdown, this bodes well for the future of these services. The big watch out of course will be price and communicating value for money for the once-again time-pressed consumer.  


Insight reports featured in this article

UK Recovery Report 2020

Business implications for grocery and hospitality market stakeholders


Your question, our expertise

Using our Channel Pulse data, we are able to answer your shopper and consumer trends questions across all UK food and drink channels. Submit your question here and one of our experts will be in touch to help you answer it.