Don’t have time to cook up dinner, but sick of ordering out? On a mission to eat healthier and feel better about the food you are eating on a regular basis? That’s where meal delivery kits come in handy. Over the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the number of people interested in meal delivery kits and the number of meal delivery brands to choose from. However, HelloFresh has secured its spot as the most popular meal kit in the world with over 1B meals delivered in 2021 and 8.5M active customers. So, what’s the secret recipe to their success?
HelloFresh is the largest meal-kit provider in the United States, and also has operations in Canada, Western Europe, New Zealand and Australia. It was founded in November 2021 and was one of the earlier companies in the meal-kit industry. By 2014, the company was delivering 1M meals per month.
The main idea is that HelloFresh delivers prepared ingredients needed for a specific meal, enabling the customers to prepare the meal themselves using recipe cards. Customers can choose a plan that works best for their lifestyle, such as family-friendly, pescatarian, quick and easy, fit & wholesome, etc. They can also specify how many people will be eating each meal and how many meals they plan to cook during the week. Each week, you get to choose from a wide selection of recipes and they’ll deliver it to you within that week.
In 2020, when the worldwide pandemic caused restaurants to close down, most of us were forced to dine at home, and many meal kit companies struggled. However, HelloFresh managed to add 1M new customers during Q1 2020. So, what made HelloFresh stand out amongst its competitors? They understood their customers - what they need, what appeals to them, and most importantly, how to reach them. HelloFresh poured a hefty cup of influencer marketing into its marketing strategy and sprinkled in the ever changing consumer needs - whipping up quite the successful recipe for success.
HelloFresh’s product and service are ideal for influencer marketing because it's visually appealing and can be promoted in a variety of ways (according to the niche and target audience). HelloFresh’s tactic is to allow the influencer to promote their product in the most authentic way possible, such as sharing a personal element - “I’ve had a busy day with the kids and don’t have the energy to cook a nutritious, filling meal - thankfully, I have a HelloFresh meal waiting to be prepped and cooked”.
YouTube: Sponsored 11K YouTubers
Podcast: Sponsored 4K podcasters
Newsletter: Sponsored 90 newsletters
They’re clearly dominating YouTube, but they also have a solid podcast strategy that they've been investing more money in over time. It’s not surprising that they’re being talked about in the food category of content, but lifestyle is an equal contender in the spaces they’re sponsoring.
Sponsorship is clearly driving not only short-term interest in their products, but the influencers they’ve chosen are creating long-term customers for HelloFresh, which explains why they’ve repeated sponsorships on so many key YouTube channels and podcasts. For example, HelloFresh has sponsored both the Mile Higher Podcast and Matt and Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure: An IVF Journey over 40 times. They have also sponsored Aspyn and Parker’s channel 35 times (and counting!)
We can see how well they drive short-term and long-term results in this particular example. They’re offering 16 free meals + 3 surprise gifts across 6 HelloFresh boxes (plus free shipping!). This is really nice because they’re not directly mentioning their subscription fees. Subscriptions historically don’t do as well in sponsored content as the promotional offer because many consumers are gunshy to getting ripped off with cancellation fees relating to subscriptions. This is a really smart way to get people to interested in checking out the service and, of course, signing up for a plan in order to get this deal while it's hot.
Interestingly, although HelloFresh has ramped up its YouTube sponsorships, it actually started its influencer marketing journey on podcasts back in 2014. One of the first podcasts they sponsored was Top Five, specifically the episode Top Five Road Trip Songs.
One of HelloFresh’s longest-standing podcast collaborations is with F*ckface, which is a humor-filled podcast hosted by Geoff Ramsey and his longtime friend, Gavin. Believe it or not, HelloFresh has sponsored this podcast over 50 times! The meal kit delivery company started partnering with this podcast back in January 2021 and its most recent collaboration took place on July 6th - Gavin Tries the Breadclip.
HelloFresh has definitely dipped its toes into a variety of podcast categories, including sports, true crime, and female and male lifestyle. However, as you can obviously see from the image below, HelloFresh definitely sees the most success with lifestyle podcasts - both male and female, which include content focusing on motherhood, ‘conversations from a mancave’, relationships, and lady chats.
HelloFresh began collaborating with YouTubers in late 2014, with its first sponsorship taking place on Irene Khan’s channel. Irene Khan’s is a lifestyle creator who mostly focuses on beauty but also sprinkles in content featuring her family - ideal partnership for HelloFresh. During the sponsored video, Irene cooks with her husband a, you guessed it, HelloFresh meal.
Over the years, HelloFresh continued partnering up with mostly lifestyle YouTubers - especially those that focus on motherhood and cooking. However, they have also tried sponsoring channels in many other categories on YouTube, such as technology channels, sports channels, and general knowledge channels. For example, SmarterEveryDay - a channel that explores the world using science - was sponsored by HelloFresh seven times which racked up 41M views - that’s a lot of exposure for the meal delivery service.
As mentioned earlier, HelloFresh has quite a few competitors - other companies focusing on meal kit delivery. Some of its biggest competitors is Home Chef, Green Chef, and Blue Apron. Let’s take a closer look at Blue Apron - the second most famous meal kit delivery service on the market.
As you can see from the graphs, Blue Apron started sponsoring creators back in 2014, with their first partnership taking place on epoddle’s channel in November 2014. Although this meal delivery service launched their influence marketing strategy earlier than HelloFresh, they sponsored much less channels and podcasts over the years. It’s also interesting to note that around the time Blue Apron decided to scale up their YouTube sponsorships was also around the time HelloFresh began partnering with influencers - coincidence?
For many years, Blue Apron had a stronger hold on podcast partnerships compared to HelloFresh. That’s probably due to the exclusivity agreements each company has where the podcaster or YouTuber cannot feature ANY OTHER meal kit brands on their channels.
In a keyword search of healthy foods, nutrition, and dieting, HelloFresh has both more mentions and more creators than Blue Apron. That definitely can explain why Blue Apron has moved away from sponsorship in the past year - they have not been able to keep up with HelloFresh’s presence on YouTube and podcasts. HelloFresh has nailed down food and dieting/health lifestyle influencers and they know YouTube is an awesome way to reach their ideal audience and drive sales.
HelloFresh’s strategy of scaling its influencer marketing strategy has succeeded in tailoring the value of the product to the target audience and ultimately increasing brand awareness and customers. It doesn’t look like HelloFresh will be slowing down, so its competitors should watch out.
If you believe your content could be a perfect fit for HelloFresh, click here to explore this sponsorship opportunity.