I Analyzed 18 Meal Kit Delivery Websites. Here’s What I Found

If you’ve ever thought “all meal kit companies sound the same”, you’re going to want to read this.

The meal kit delivery space is in trouble. If you’ve wandered to a few meal kit websites, you’ve no doubt come to the same conclusion I did months ago…

Meal kit companies generally don’t do a great job at differentiating themselves.

But I wanted to test this hunch and see if it was really true. Was I just not paying attention, or do meal kit brands desperately need to rethink their value propositions?

I analyzed 18 different meal kit websites to answer that question.

If you own a food brand, I hope this helps you not fall into the same negative patterns that many of these services feel stuck in.

Here’s what I looked for:

  • Headlines, Subheadings, And Sub-Subheadings — These are where the primary messages are. I knew I’d be able to get the main USP from these… if there was one at all.

Want to see the full research? Get your copy.

Research Highlights

Before we go into detail, let’s look at some of the key findings.

  • 69% of meal kit brands didn’t have a clear USP

Let’s dig into the good stuff.

The Big Issue: 39% Of Meal Kit Brands Had No Clear Unique Value Proposition

I tested this using the 5-Second Test. If I couldn’t find the company’s main value proposition in just five seconds from looking at their website, they failed the test.

Here were the brands with no clear USP at all:

  • Blue Apron (this one shocked me)

Several websites had a USP, but it took more than 5 seconds to find:

  • Sun Basket — diet-specific meal kits

Takeaway: There are too many “me too” meal kit delivery brands that don’t do enough to distinguish themselves. Make your USP as clear as day.

There Were So Many Bad Headlines

I didn’t expect to see so many vague, obvious, and ineffective headlines.

Blue Apron, for example, simply has “Order our top-rated recipes today!” posted over a video. It feels uninspired, non-gripping, and — to be frank — lazy.

There’s no why, no differentiation, no benefit.

Another weak headline was found on Purple Carrot. It simply read “Make Purple Carrot A Habit”. Once again, why would I do that?

There’s no charm here, no invitation. Just a selfish command. Who are you to demand I carve out my life to make you a habit, Purple Carrot?

MealPro didn’t really even have a headline.

(and so many other issues… you’ll be hearing a lot about MealPro)

Most of the bad headlines were just bland and boring. Here are some more:

  • Chef-cooked, healthy meals delivered to your door (Freshly)

And this is what kills me about Dinnerly: their USP is amazing, but hidden below the fold.

And see what happens when you scroll down…

Gah! $4.99 is big — bring that to the top!

Of course, there were some excellent headlines. Here they are (and what makes them great):

  • Discover the farm-fresh taste of the South. PeachDish draws you into that feeling of eating good ole Southern food on a peaceful farm in Georgia. The USP is crystal clear.

Takeaway: Don’t settle for a headline that focuses on ease or convenience. That’s the whole reason customers are looking at your website in the first place… move onto a deeper, subsurface benefit.

50% Of Websites Didn’t List Prices On The Home Page

Pricing isn’t always a good thing to include on the home page. Many consumers will click through to a ‘Pricing’ page to have their question answered — and that means more opportunities to communicate the value of your service.

And yet, pricing is the main objection consumers have to meal kits, and I generally advise clients to address objections as early as possible.

I’d love to see some real data on how pricing on the home page affects customer behavior on meal kit websites.

The Most Common CTA Was “Get Started”

Leading the CTA battle with appearances on ten websites was “Get Started”.

Here were the runner ups:

  • Choose Your Plan (or Pick Your Meals): 5

And then there were a few non-conventional CTAs, like “Start Planning For Great” and “Start Having Fun”, mostly from Plated.

But there was one CTA that drove me nuts… “Add To Cart”. Can you guess who it was?

MealPro.

Once again, no charm, no benefits, no invitation. Just a bland, cringy, transactional button.

Takeaway: Don’t be too cutesy with your CTAs. Don’t be transactional either. Invite customers into your food experience.

66% Of Websites Didn’t Have A Discount Offer

I visited basic website URLs — not ads, not affiliate links, not landing pages — to avoid triggering auto-discounts. I was surprised how few of them bombarded me with offers.

The most common offer delivery mechanism was the colorful top bar. Here’s Plated’s:

Only one offer (Purple Carrot) was built into the CTA at the bottom of the page. It felt a bit hidden, and I’m willing to bet that it doesn’t perform as well (but at least it’s still there!).

Takeaway: Everyone is looking for a discount on their first box. If you make it difficult to find that offer, you risk losing a customer to websites where the offer is more accessible.

50% Of Meal Kit Companies Didn’t Have A Newsletter Signup

This one surprised me. Half of the homepages didn’t have a place to signup at all. And the websites that did have a signup… they weren’t even trying to get my email at all.

And here’s why that’s weird: these companies are sending tons of sales emails every week.

Why aren’t they trying to get emails? Email marketing does have insane ROI, after all. My guess is that influencer marketing is performing so well that they haven’t needed to target newsletter signups.

Takeaway: Email marketing rocks. Maybe meal kit companies are probably missing out on an opportunity. Maybe I’m wrong. Some meal kit brand should send me their email data.

27% Of Websites Read At A 3rd-Grade Reading Level

In the words of Donald Miller, “If you confuse, you’ll lose”.

Thankfully, none of these websites were confusing (*pats websites on the back*). Some of them were written as low as a 3rd-grade reading level:

  • Firstchop

And here were the most difficult sites to read:

  • Hello Fresh (Grade 8)

You can easily tell the difference between Gobble and Sun Basket. Gobble uses basic language, simple sentences, and no jargon. Sun Basket, however, is quick to use more complex sentences and less common language like “paleo” and “certified organic handler”.

Jargon isn’t always bad — Sun Basket customers are probably looking for it specifically. But it’s important to not let your copywriter run too far with it.

Takeaway: Easy-to-read websites tend to be more engaging, but complex sentences and jargon make your eyes glaze over (unless your customer wants it specifically).

38% Of Websites Had Zero Testimonials

Testimonials are a user experience no-brainer.

Any business website not using testimonials is missing an opportunity to build trust with potential customers.

There were a few ways meal kit websites used testimonials:

  • Customer quotes (native, from twitter)

Look at this amazing use of testimonials from One Potato. It’s relevant to the USP (meals for families) and comes from the perspective of moms (the ideal customer).

Something is always better than nothing!

Takeaway: Don’t be like the companies that don’t have testimonials. They are wrong.

The 5 Biggest Problems I Saw With Meal Kit Websites

After several hours of research, a few big problems became obvious. And, unfortunately, they were pretty common among these 18 meal kit websites.

  • Meal kit companies need to better differentiate themselves. It’s not enough to be easy, convenient, and fast. That’s true for every single one of these brands. Find something unique and valuable to focus on in your messaging!

All of these issues are solvable.

The 5 Best Meal Kit Websites (From A Copywriting Perspective)

Here are the websites I thought performed the best in their copywriting, layout, and user experience design.

1. Marley Spoon

As gimmicky as it sounds, Marley Spoon has a killer website. The USP is crystal clear, the buttons are bright and noticeable, and the benefits are communicated very well in the sections below the header.

2. Hello Fresh

Despite not having a really defined USP, HelloFresh still does a great job pulling you in. The impressive headline really makes it seem different as a meal kit delivery service — even though the differences really are quite small.

3. Gobble

I keep going back to Gobble. The headline and subheading are super clear, the woman smiling is engaging (most companies just have food pics), and the floating signup form is accessible no matter where you are on the page.

4. One Potato

It’s such a simple, yet effective USP: “We specifically focus on families”. They’re not the only one… they just communicate it the best. One Potato’s colorful site is very captivating, easy to read, and brings you right to a great CTA button.

5. Green Chef

Several brands try to highlight their focus on specific diets (paleo, gluten-free), but Green Chef does the best job at it. Their headline and subheadings are clear, the flow of the website feels natural, and it all leads to a great CTA that invites you to “feel great about your food”.

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Originally published at www.garrettoden.com on February 21, 2019.

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I help coffee, food, and food tech businesses create better content, engage with customers, and convert like crazy.

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Garrett Oden

I help coffee, food, and food tech businesses create better content, engage with customers, and convert like crazy.