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December 15, 2015
Of the many small indulgences and unbidden conveniences the current tech boom has given us, one of the most enticing might be the luxe meal-kit-in-a-box: A cardboard box of pre-packed ingredients, delivered to your door once a week or so with idiot-proof recipes included. For anyone who’s come home after a long day at work to find an empty fridge and an utter unwillingness to cook or shop the appeal is obvious: A kit offers the ease of takeout, but the joy (or bragging rights) of cooking, all for the low, low price of (roughly) $10 per meal.
Indeed, the consulting firm Technomic estimates that over the next decade, the meal-kit market will become as big as a $5 billion industry. More than half a dozen venture-backed, slickly marketed companies — among them Plated, Purple Carrot, HelloFresh, ChefDay!, Chef’d, GreenChef, Din, Peach Dish, and Blue Apron — are chasing the space, all with slightly different glosses and specialties. But at three years old, Blue Apron appears to be the breakout, with a $2 billion valuation, a footprint covering the majority of the country, and monthly delivery rate north of 5 million meals a month, according to a November Forbes profile. (Blue Apron declined be interviewed for this article.)
Last week, the service offered omnivores on the two-person plan “trattoria-style cheeseburgers with crispy rosemary-garlic potatoes and aioli,” “seared chicken and roasted sweet potato rounds with a chestnut and Brussels pan sauce,” and “North-African spiced shrimp with dates, kale, and carrots” — all delivered to your door in pre-portioned packages, and with prep times of about 45 minutes at most.
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