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Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center

Meeting the trends of online shopping

With a click of a mouse you can buy anything from shoes to household goods. Now, online shopping has included convenient meals to be prepared at home as well as purchasing your entire grocery list. Today, more than ever, consumers are looking to add extra convenience to their everyday lives, while still wanting food to taste good and be healthy.

By Erin Johnson

With a click of a mouse you can buy anything from shoes to household goods. Now, online shopping has included convenient meals to be prepared at home as well as purchasing your entire grocery list. Today, more than ever, consumers are looking to add extra convenience to their everyday lives, while still wanting food to taste good and be healthy.

More people are looking to make meal preparation easier as well. Meal kit subscriptions are becoming a new trend in the food industry, providing perfectly portioned meals feeding two to four people with unique recipes. These recipes bring a fresh twist to family dinners with a new experience at your kitchen table. However, each company serves a different customer base.

Whether the consumer is shopping for smoothies, paleo dinners or would like a better understanding of where their food originates, these specifications are considered when making a meal. The varieties offered in these meal kits give the customers a convenient option for their hectic lives or an opportunity to try something new.

Technomic estimated the global meal kit market topped $1 billion in 2015 and predicted it would grow into a multi-billion-dollar market during the next five years. How would a food manufacturer be able to get involved in the rapidly expanding market?

An article in the August 2016 Meating Place magazine suggested using portion cut meats. Erik Thoreson, principle of Technomic, a food research firm, said “The opportunity is really about determining what kind of unique positioning they can help a meal kit company achieve. Maybe it is a special variety or type of beef, for example.”

Companies manufacturing sauces and spice mixes also could take advantage of this suggestion by producing small, pre-portioned packages for a single meal.

How are grocery stores playing a role in this new click-and-buy environment? Many grocery store chains have online shopping systems, which provide the consumer a way to select their grocery items and schedule a time to pick up their items without the hassle of doing the grocery shopping on their own.

According to an online Statista article, in 2016 an estimated 5 percent of U.S. consumers preferred shopping for groceries online. In 2015, the total online grocery sales amounted to about $7 billion. This is expected to increase to $18 billion by 2020.

Online grocery shopping is a convenient and easy way for consumers to save time and money on their shopping budget. These fresh options offer consumers a variety of ways to decide what’s for dinner without having to prepare it or physically go to the store to shop for it.