Chefs Plate sorts out a place in the meal kit market

Demand is up but so are financial worries, so the relative newcomer leans into being a practical option.
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While interest in meal kits has surged as Canadians spend more time at home, consumers are also more conscious of how much they’re spending on everything, including food. To turn that kit-convenience consideration into new members, Chef’s Plate is positioning its meal offering as a fit for what’s scarce – finances and time.

In the new “Cook Savvy” campaign, a tranquil voiceover takes the viewer on a nighttime tour of a kitchen after a Chefs Plate meal had helped the family save on cost, food waste and time, allowing them to enjoy “life’s less planned moments.”

“We’re certainly seeing a lot of growth, given the fact that Canadians are spending more time at home,” says Amy Delva, brand manager at Chefs Plate. Prior to the pandemic, the meal kit industry in Canada had roughly doubled since 2014 and was expected to surpass $400-million in the next year, partially due to the fact that 42% of Canadians who had not tried a meal kit claimed they were interested in trying one.

That interest has been accelerated as people are looking to limit trips to the store and improve cooking abilities. But converting to trial is a key challenge, as Canadians are also more wary than ever of taking on extra expenses, like a meal kit membership.

Having launched in 2014, Chefs Plate is still relatively new to the meal kit space. But one key way it differentiates from market leader – and, as of 2018, parent company – Hello Fresh, is on affordability. For three meals per week for two people, Chefs Plate charges $9.99 per serving with free shipping, compared to HelloFresh, charging $11.49 per serving plus $9.99 for shipping.

“We want to let people know that we are an affordable solution that people can incorporate into their weekly or monthly food budget,” Delva says.

While the pandemic made these factors more pertinent, it fits easily with the space Chefs Plate has traditionally played well in. According to its market research, its target audience is made up of “highly organized [and] practical meal planners” – connecting price-savviness with being practical about time and organization was a logical connection.

“We really strive to be the more accessible choice,” Delva says. “We know that Canadians are savvy shoppers, and we just feel there’s a huge opportunity to access those people.”

The campaign was created by Crowdiate, with a media buy focused on specialty TV handled by Horizon Next.