When one looks at the statistics on American eating habits, two things become pretty clear. The first is that, on average, Americans are not particularly good about managing their diets. More than a third are classified as obese, and about 80 percent eat fewer fruits and vegetables than they should. That’s according to the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Survey, which assessed how many Americans are on board with the “principles of healthy living” – a good diet, moderate exercise, not smoking and keeping body fat under control.
The answer? About 3 percent.
The other 97 percent of us are missing in at least one major category.
“The behavior standards we were measuring for were pretty reasonable, not super high. We weren’t looking for marathon runners,” said the senior author of the study, Ellen Smit, an associate professor at the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences in Corvallis.
Remarkably, though, Americans are pretty confident about their lifestyles, with 75 percent reporting they eat a healthy diet. But by the numbers, most of them are wrong about that.
But it does indicate two important things. The first is that Americans believe eating healthy is something they should do. The second is that they are pretty unclear on how to actually pull that off.
It was this problem that motivated New York mom Rachel Drori to found Daily Harvest, an online meal delivery service that sells frozen soups, smoothies and bowls on a weekly or monthly basis. Developed by a nutritionist and a chef, those offerings come frozen and ready to go with almost no prep. And the produce in the boxes, as the name implies, was recently harvested.
“Most consumers are eating apples that were picked as much as a year before making it to the grocery store shelf, which means they don’t pack the nutritional punch they once did,” noted Drori. “Daily Harvest is focused on only offering selections that are picked at peak maturity, then flash-frozen to maintain farm-fresh nutrient density and flavor, without using preservatives or added sugar.”
As an online-only brand that delivers meals once a week or once a month, Daily Harvest has built a dedicated – and, in some cases, famous – following. Serena Williams and Gwyneth Paltrow both invested in the firm about a year ago. But in about two weeks, Daily Harvest is stepping offline and into the real world – in a Manhattan pop-up shop.
“This is meant to drive direct sales. The one thing we know about our customers is that they need to taste it to understand why it’s different,” said CEO Drori in a statement. “We want to meet customers offline and interact with them there.”
The new shop, dubbed a “refuel station,” is described as resembling a “1970s Palm Springs gas station,” but one stocked with free samples of several Daily Harvest products. Visitors can also learn all about how the brand sources and delivers its offerings and why flash freezing is a good thing, and can also buy themselves some “scratch tickets.” Those tickets won’t connect shoppers with a state lottery, though – instead, they provide a chance to win products from the store.
And, of course, it wouldn’t really a be a pop-up shop without the shopping part, which means visitors can also pick up a smoothie or a bowl of soup to go. The shop enable customers to get the Daily Harvest experience, but in a way that is distinct from the online version. Other than being in real life, the shops also allow customers to do something they normally can’t: purchase items a la carte. The online Daily Harvest is subscription only.
The meal kit market has been popular over the last few years with eCommerce entrepreneurs, but has also been punishing for many of them. Daily Harvest believes is viability lies in its difference, as they specialize in frozen goods that require minimal prep time. The firm also touts its ability to watch and quickly react to customer preferences within the platform.
Unlike many online brands that are jumping offline, Daily Harvest says it is not eyeing a longer-term physical presence at this point. Instead, it is simply trying to bring the brand to a broader set of customers and get them in touch with the experience.