As competition among them heats up, meal kit startups are expanding their repertoire, including by selling their dinner kits at groceries and adding new products to their catalogs.
Today, early meal kit player HelloFresh announced the availability of wines on their site beginning May 17th. HelloFresh Wine subscribers will get six bottles of red, white or mixed varietals shipped to their door for $89 per month, plus taxes. Along with their monthly shipments, Hello Fresh will provide pairing suggestions, tasting notes and a flavor profile for each wine.
One major HelloFresh competitor, Blue Apron, began selling wine back in 2015. The addition of wines to HelloFresh makes the two even more directly competitive.
Unlike Blue Apron, HelloFresh offers meals for different “dayparts,” not just dinner. They started selling breakfast recipes and ingredients in March this year.
Unlike HelloFresh, Blue Apron sells food prep tools, cookware, culinary gifts and cookbooks à la carte. And Blue Apron’s wine subscription costs less than the new HelloFresh offering, at $65.99 per month, including shipping and taxes. However, Blue Apron gives users just one option — they get three bottles of red and three of white each month.
Both companies pose competition to vineyards that sell direct to customers, as well as alcohol-specific e-commerce companies, from Wine.com to Naked Wines, Vivino, Winc, and delivery apps like Drizly.
The companies are tapping into a shift in the way people buy and discover wines. Restaurant sales of wine have declined in recent years, but growth in direct-to-consumer wine sales have been ramping up since 2012. Direct to consumer now represents 59 percent of an average winery’s overall sales, according to the Silicon Valley Bank 2017 Wine Report.
Most importantly for meal kit companies, expanding into wines may help them improve margins. Managing a supply chain of perishable goods is exceedingly costly. Wines, of course, age well — as long as they’re stored properly.