Meal kit company HelloFresh is now in the last-mile delivery business.
The company announced Tuesday (Nov. 14) that its company-managed fleet is now operating in 19 major metropolitan areas.
“Operating its own fleet of nearly 500 vans allows HelloFresh to reduce transit times and leads to a better end-to-end customer experience,” the company said in a news release.
“Leveraging newly established software provides HelloFresh with greater visibility around the customer experience. This includes having real-time communication between HelloFresh customers and drivers that enables quicker customer service support in times of need,” it added.
HelloFresh added that this will let it oversee logistics from beginning to end, allowing it to address problems quickly and make sure meals arrive on time while also responding to shifts in demand.
The Fleet is available in markets where HelloFresh can provide faster delivery while also working with third-party carriers, an approach the company said ensures diners get their food from HelloFresh and its other brands: Factor, Green Chef and EveryPlate.
“Consumers will easily identify deliveries in clearly marked HelloFresh and Factor branded vans,” the release said. “For a growing brand like Factor, the company is able to leverage its fleet to drive further awareness for its ready-to-eat meal delivery service.”
The launch comes amid a wave of upheaval in the meal kit/meal delivery space. For example, Blue Apron announced in September that it has entered into an agreement to be acquired by the omnichannel food hall company Wonder for around $103 million.
And in July, confectionery giant Mars’ Food & Nutrition division announced its purchase of meal kit company Kevin’s Natural Foods, which sells its products through its D2C online shop as well as at tens of thousands of retail locations.
“There are certainly going to be some people where this is replacing grocery,” said Scott Payne, chief product officer at Kroger’s Home Chef and Tempo. “There are some people who haven’t traditionally cooked in the past, so that might be replacing takeout, and there might even be traditional meal kits subscribers who are looking for something more convenient.”
Still, PYMNTS Intelligence has found that most consumers have not yet adopted these kinds of meal options, as seen in “Connected Dining: Ready-to-Eat Meals Are Eating Restaurants’ Lunch,” which noted that just 10% of people order ready-to-eat meals every month.