Meal kit and grocery deliveries soar as lockdown keeps shoppers at home

Mindful Chef is among a number meal kit firms to report a surge in demand after the lockdown started Credit: Mindful Chef/PA

Meal kit and grocery delivery firms have seen sales surge in recent months as the amount of money spent on home-delivered food more than doubled in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Spending on meal kits and grocery boxes sent to people’s doors soared by 114% in April after people were told to stay indoors, according to new figures from Cardlytics.

The new data, based on the purchasing habits from 22 million bank accounts, also revealed that spending on meal kits over the year to April increased by 36%, compared with the previous 12 months.

Meal kit firms such as HelloFresh, Gousto and Mindful Chef also heavily increased recruitment from March as demand rapidly increased.

Tim Lee, chief executive of Mindful Chef, told the PA news agency that sales jumped by more than 400% compared to the same period last year after the virus hit.

He said: “We were already in a good place prior to March and had been increasing customer awareness, like with our first TV advertising campaign.

“When demand surged, we were fortunate we were able to triple production within our current space.

“We’d made sure we had room for growth and it meant we didn’t have to stop taking new customers in March and April – in fact we stepped up our marketing.

“Now we are seeing the benefit. We’ve done a bit of research which has already shown that a large proportion of our new customers plan to keep ordering.”

Allplants hired 24 extra chefs to cope with a surge demand after the lockdown started Credit: Allplants/PA

Allplants, which delivers frozen vegan ready meals to customers, reported a similar surge in orders, which it said have continued to grow.

Jonathan Petrides, who co-founded the London-based company with his brother Alex, told PA it also saw a 400% year-on-year jump in April.

“Customer numbers just soared. At one point we were walking a fine line near potentially stocking out but our team made a superb effort to pull it off,” he said

“Things are starting to steady now but it’s really accelerated a pattern which we were seeing anyway.

“But now this has helped us to make some progress in new markets. We’ve seen big uptake recently from over-50s, who are clearly buying more online deliveries and becoming more conscious of health and wellness too.”

Jonathan Petrides, co-founder of Allplants Credit: Allplants/PA

The new data highlighted that tech-savvy and time-poor consumers are increasingly turning to online service and apps for spending, with the number of total online transactions per customer rising by 10% over the past 12 months.

Cardlytics said this also involved a 39% increase in spend on takeaways – driven by the use of Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat – in April.

Duncan Smith, commercial director at Cardlytics UK, said: “The gradual rise of the UK’s door-to-door economy has become a relentless surge.

“Just as working from home has dramatically impacted the importance of workplace technology, so too has lockdown transformed the role of delivery services.

“More and more brands are embracing this approach as this economy becomes the new normal for us all.”