The Meal-Kit Revolution


Time being the valuable currency it is, the new Meal-Kit industry is both providing consumers with appetising meals and some extra time in their daily schedules

To those who love scrumptious and healthy food but do not have time to cook or even go to restaurants, starve no more. Chefs are now preparing meals for home cooking. Referred to as meal kits, the individually packaged meals provide consumers with a recipe, ingredients, precise quantities and step-by-step guidelines on preparation.


In SA the meal-kit market is still in its infancy but in the US it’s big business that has seen the likes of Walmart, Kroger and Costco all providing this product. According to research by international firm Nielsen, retailers in the US are capitalising on consumer desires for fast and fresh, in addition to the growing popularity of pre-portioned ingredients for complete meal prep at home.

In the year ended 2017, in-store meal kits generated $154.6 million in sales, posting growth of more than 26% year-over-year. Total brick-and-mortar sales for store-bought edibles (grocery, dairy, frozen foods) dipped 0.1% last year to $374 billion, according to a Nielsen research report released in May this year.

Overall, 9% of Americans say they’ve purchased a meal kit in the last six months – that’s 10.5 million households. At least 25% of consumers say they would consider trying a meal kit in the next six months – that’s more than 30 million households.


In South Africa, UCOOK, Daily Dish, Frozen for You and most recently Checkers have gained first-mover advantage into this new space.

Daily Dish 

Founded in 2013, this was South Africa’s first weekly meal-kit delivery service for people who were after the convenience of having someone else not only think about what’s for dinner, but then have it delivered to your home or office. “We are not chefs (or foodies),” states the Daily Dish website, “we were just so frustrated with the last-minute dash around the crowded supermarket after work and bored with the same old meals and sad take-outs every week that we decided to do something about it.
079 726 8223



Founded by Christopher Verster-Cohen, this dinner-kit delivery service allows you to go online and choose from nine seasonal recipes within three categories each week. The meals are delivered with all ingredients and recipes.
021 447 4424


Frozen for You 

Started by the owners of catering company By Word of Mouth, it offers a selection of frozen prepared meals that are ordered online and delivered (to certain areas) or collected at the store.
011 553 7600



The first major retailer to enter the meal-kit market. Called Ready to Chef, each meal kit consists of fresh, locally sourced ingredients and a step-by-step recipe card with a QR code to a how-to video.
080 001 0709


There is no doubt that this small industry will gain some appetising traction given how time-pressed consumers are, as well as the need to live healthy lifestyles. So next time you feel like a quick, chef-prepared and healthy meal, remember it’s just a click or phone call away.



WORDS Thabiso Mochiko


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