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This new trend could be a huge boost for seafood

Everyone is buzzing about meal delivery kits -- how can the seafood industry get in on it?

There's one topic that NPD Group's food and beverage industry analyst Darren Seifer has been getting more calls about than any other: meal kit delivery services such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh.

"It's the biggest thing I get asked about from reporters these days," Seifer told IntraFish.

Still, even with all the buzz, the services -- which provide all the necessary ingredients to prepare a meal, as well as detailed instructions on how to prepare the food -- the niche sector has been slow to grow so far.

Seifer said just 3 percent of US adults said they had tried such a service during the past year and most of those people had done so because they had had a coupon or gift card of some sort.

According to a new NDP Group study, however, there are opportunities for growth for meal delivery services -- and seafood could benefit from them.

Seifer said the services, generally used to replace an in-home dinner, can cost much more than the average home-cooked dinner, which is $4 (€3.63). The average cost of a service is $10 (€9.07).

"I think what the [service companies] should try to harp on is that they're saving people time because when you break it down, they're not really saving people money," Seifer told IntraFish.

"If you're not going to save money, they need to convince consumers they're going to save them something else: time, hassle, energy people spend searching for ideas on what to make in the first place."

With all the buzz the concept has been getting, plus some celebrity chefs angling to get into the space, Seifer said the sector has huge potential -- and seafood is one industry that could benefit.

In HelloFresh's classic box, one of the weekly options is always a seafood dish, the company told IntraFish. It's generally salmon, shrimp or cod, but can include tilapia, sole, tuna, swordfish or calamari as well.

"With this type of service, the recipes come with it, the instructions are clear, so this is perhaps an opportunity to get people to venture away from what they do on a daily basis," Seifer said. "Younger folks are more willing to change things up a bit."

Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) Executive Director Linda Cornish told IntraFish last summer the industry would definitely get a boost from the success of such services.

"We’ve found that customers of these services are more health-minded and often choose the seafood options because it takes out the guesswork," Cornish said.

"They otherwise would not go out of the way to buy seafood."


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