Retail

Putting Meal Kit Control In Consumers’ Hands

Meal Deliveries Built On Options, Ratings

To provide consumers with regular access to nutritional foods, eCommerce merchants are delivering meals that cater to a range of tastes and dietary needs through subscriptions. Factor 75, for instance, provides what Mike Apostal, the company’s CEO, described as “nutrition for performance.” After all, Apostal noted, eating right on a daily basis is challenging and time-consuming, as most restaurants don’t cater to specialized dietary lifestyles and most frozen food has unhealthy fillers.

Factor 75’s meals are ready in two and a half minutes in the microwave or five minutes in the oven. After that point, “you’ve got a fresh, fully prepared, restaurant-quality meal,” Apostal said. The company also curates meals that optimize the nutrition per calorie and meet specific dietary needs.

To check out the menu, consumers can visit the company’s website. They can also register their email addresses and zip codes to visit a plans page, where they can choose to have four, six, eight, 12 or 18 meals delivered each week. Pricing varies depending on the plan; larger plan sizes have a lower cost per meal. The company also offers free shipping.

Factor 75 is not alone in offering these plan features. According to the PYMNTS Subscription Commerce Conversion Index, 95 percent of the top 20 performers in Q4 2018 offered plan options. The Index also noted the same share of top 20 performers in Q4 2018 offered free shipping.

Once customers select a plan, they can browse the menu and choose their meals. (The meals feature products such as grass-fed beef and organic produce, with Moroccan beef tenderloin and Tuscan tomato chicken as this week’s options.) Consumers can pay by credit card or debit card.

To help customers choose their meals, Factor 75 has different carousels showing chef’s favorites, as well as high-protein, low-carb, ketogenic and Paleo meals. Consumers can also specify their taste preferences when they sign up, including any food allergies and specific protein types. If they don’t want to choose meals, the company will send meals that incorporate their taste preferences as well as meals that are popular among the user community.

The Meal Delivery Operating System

Factor 75 has been serving meals for six and a half years. Apostal said it’s not always easy to deliver fresh-prepared meals around the country, but the company is able to determine during the research and development process whether a dish will be able to travel well while maintaining optimal taste and presentation.

The company also seeks feedback from consumers. Customers can rate meals on a scale of one to five (with five as the best rating). Apostal said this is an integral part of the company’s operating system. Factor 75 receives approximately 800 to 1,000 meal ratings per week. Based on that information, the company is continuously iterating and rolling out new dishes. Factor 75’s customers are typically college-educated, and split almost evenly between male and female. Beyond the subscriptions, consumers can order gift cards for family members or friends.

The company recently launched cold-pressed juices, and Apostal said there has been a “tremendous amount of excitement” around the product. That is one example of how the company can offer adjacent product offerings that fit customers’ busy lifestyles and help them eat and live better. The company aims to take a more personalized approach to nutrition.

With product offerings that extend beyond meals and choices to fit different dietary goals, prepared food delivery services like Factor 75 aim to provide a range of nutrition options via subscriptions.

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