A new UF/IFAS study shows that consumers prefer meal kits (online or in the store) with organic, local, and pre-cut ingredients. The researchers also learned that consumers are willing to pay more for meal kits at a grocery store, rather than online, if they can find the same kits at both places.
According to Sungeun Yoon, a postdoctoral researcher in Food and Resource Economics, people can reduce the insulation and cardboard packaging waste that comes with purchasing a kit online if they chose to buy meal kits from a grocery store.
Sungeun Yoon led the research into consumer attitudes toward meal kit packaging. “We wanted to know if consumers would feel better about online meal kits in terms of waste generation when provided with fully recyclable packaging. It turns out they do. Consumers perceive fully recyclable packaging as comparable to minimal packaging of in-store meal kits. However, this perception change does not lead to behavior change. Consumers still prefer the grocery option for other reasons than environmental, for example, flexibility of in-store meal kits,” he said.
For the study, a nationwide internet survey of 1,217 people was conducted. It showed that – among other things – consumers are willing to pay $2.14 more per serving for meal kits sold at grocery stores, compared to those sold online.