Although the $1.5 billion meal kit industry continues to be dominated by the early players Blue Apron and Fresh Direct, new companies continue to emerge in this space with ever more specialized offerings. Purple Carrot bills itself as "the plant-based meal-kit company," trying to attract and cater to a growing group of plant-based eating aficionados.
Founder & CEO Andy Levitt launched the company in his garage in 2014. Since then, the brand has emerged as one of the leading players in the space, and recently launched a partnership with Whole Foods. The popular chain is already offering Purple Carrot meal kits in their stores.
While the company did not disclose its financial data, they did share that they are growing from both a customer and revenue perspective at a rate of 7x year-over-year.
Now available in 30 states in the US, Purple Carrot delivers "fresh, pre-portioned ingredients and simple step-by-step guides for people to cook distinctive, healthy, plant-based meals at home." The brand is focused on empowering people regardless of their preferred diets who want to consciously and easily integrate plant-based eating into their lifestyle. While many customers are vegetarians, most also eat some meat, fish, and dairy. A group Purple Carrot has coined as "Balanceatarians."
On average, Purple Carrot meals contain between 500 and 800 calories per serving. All of the meals offer complex carbohydrates from vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, rather than simple carbohydrates like those found in most standardized supermarket packaged meals. For whole-eating dieters looking to trim fat, the company notes that: "a large amount of the fat in recipes comes from the oil being used to cook the food." They go on to suggest three ways to use less fat in their food prep.
They also note on their website that not all fat is created equal. "The food we send out is full of the good fats that your body needs to promote healthy cholesterol levels. These fats come from beans and avocados and other healthy protein-packed items that keep your body powered by plants!"
Given the above, Levitt sees his company's offering as unique and poised for success in a different way from the competition. He has analyzed the meal kit industry and come to several conclusions: "The industry is evolving from its infancy into a category that has piqued the interest of consumers and big brands alike. As several of the more established players showed early signs of success, there was a rush of 'me too' companies -- each going after a similar target audience, i.e., young professionals with significant disposable income and little free time. But as we've seen over the past six months, many of these competitive entrants couldn't make the economics work and have since closed down. What has emerged is a core set of leading companies, each satisfying a particular consumer segment and working to differentiate their offerings in order to create loyalty among their user base." He hints at merger, saying, "Consolidation over the next 12-18 months is inevitable."
Purple Carrot, in particular, expects to launch several partnerships in 2017 with like-minded brands. They plan to make their meal kits even more accessible to consumers interested in consciously integrating plant-based eating into their lifestyle, to benefit their own health and the health of the environment as well as meeting rising concerns about food animal welfare.