Food Nation

We spent a fair amount of time in Brooklyn this past weekend.  I am always amazed of the changing economy when we drive thru Brooklyn.  We happened to meet up with someone in Park Slope.  While we were waiting we strolled into this store called The Walk-In Cookbook.  They have been open for three weeks.

They built a store front around one of the latest food concepts that have cropped up over the past year.  A recipe combined bundled with a measured quantity of ingredients to make a meal for two (or more) at home.  Everything is fresh and you get to choose your options for dinner.  Here you can just walk by on the way home and pick it up and you can also order for delivery a few times a week depending on your choice. 

This is not new.  Plated does the same thing.  Delivering fresh ingredients already portioned out to your home with a recipe.  Blue Apron is another one and Good Eggs too.  Quinciple is a little different.  I am trying that out this week.  They deliver the farmers market to your door and I see that as a supplement to what you already pick up every week.  Kind of like an added bonus to your grocery list. 

These businesses are all basically the same but each have something a tad different.  They are fulfillment centers.  I personally did not invest in any of them.  I just could not wrap up my arms around the ability for these businesses to truly scale.  Won't people get bored with the whole concept?  How many times will it not be used and sit in the fridge and the customers will be bummed about it.  Once you start to really get into cooking will people really want to be use their recipes each week or come up with their own?  Lots of constant customer acquisition.  Will the products delivered really be consistently good?  Won't large grocery stores start doing this themselves like stores added websites and provided ecommerce from their inventories as an added revenue driver? 

All these questions went rambling around my head so I passed.  I really think these businesess are best local too.  The first company I saw do this was Freshocracy in 2011 and that delivered the portioned out food with recipes that came from farm to table not a food delivery service like Baldor.  I loved the concept but it was almost impossible to make the margins work. 

Really interesting all the food businesses that are starting to mature.  Where they end up will be interesting.  Will they change consumer behavior ( super hard ) and is there room for this many of these businesses.  Have to say I think the local neighborhood storefront is the most clever.