Despite High Earnings, HelloFresh Customers Are In Decline

Have you ever tried a meal kit service? Offered by companies including Blue Apron, Sunbasket, and Home Chef (via Epicurious), meal kits can be a great option for those nights when you want a home-cooked meal, but are short on time and energy. Having hit the U.S. market in the early 2000s (via Vator News), meal kit companies have grown in number as well as in the types of meals they provide. According to Epicurious, Sunbasket leans healthy and sustainable, offering paleo and organic options; Freshly's recipes are developed by nutritionists; Purple Carrot's meals are vegetarian; and Dinnerly offers streamlined meals that are faster and easier to prepare.

Even if a meal kit service never appealed to you in the past, you may have dipped a toe in during the height of the pandemic, when cooks were looking for ways to stay at home and also eat well. According to Meat + Poultry, meal kit sales surged in 2020, with the category growing by 18.7% over 2019 and generating almost $132 million more than the previous year.

HelloFresh, the meal kit service to first become available to Americans back in 2012 (via Vator News), did well during the pandemic, with sales shooting up 111% in 2020 as compared to 2019. And though its revenue continues to grow even as the pandemic wanes, one area of difficulty the company is facing is bringing in new customers.

Even as revenue surges, customer growth is slowing down

Have you ever ordered a meal kit from HelloFresh? If so, you may have whipped up Italian Chicken over Lemony Spaghetti, Steakhouse-Style Pork Chops, or Black Bean & Pepper Quesadillas (via HelloFresh). Offering a variety of subscription plans such as Meat & Veggies, Family Friendly, and Quick and Easy, the meal kit service is generally highly regarded (via CNET) — but although HelloFresh is doing well with revenue, it's not attracting the number of new customers it would like to, according to Grocery Dive.

In its analysis of the company's second-quarter (Q2) performance — that's the months of April, May, and June (via Investopedia) — Grocery Dive reported that the German-based brand's revenue was up 21.6% as compared to Q2 in 2021. But during that time, HelloFresh's U.S. customer count only expanded by 5.5%, the company's smallest increase in new customers since the start of the pandemic.

As The Washington Post recently reported, fewer cooks are turning to meal kits since the worst of the pandemic has waned, a trend that is affecting HelloFresh as well. As Grocery Dive noted, since Q2 last year, the number of U.S. orders — as well as the number of meals the company has delivered — have steadily waned, too.