For on-the-go Aussie consumers with limited time between the end of the workday and dinner time, food boxes and prepared meals are invaluable.

Delivered directly to households, food box meal kits (such as Hello Fresh, Marley Spoon and Aussie Farmers Direct) include portioned ingredients and easy to follow instructions, allowing consumers to skip extensive meal preparation and dive right into creating their meals. Prepared meals, like Lite'n'Easy, are even faster, while still portion controlled and nutritionally balanced.

In aggregate, food boxes and prepared meals represent a small portion of the grocery e-commerce market (1.6% of value sales) and purchased by 3% of respondents. But these websites are not to be discounted, despite their current market share. On average, food boxes are purchased every two weeks and online spend per year is $1,084; ready meals are bought three times a month and these shoppers spend $453 per year. They are breaking traditional online grocery barriers - consumers are not worried about inspecting the produce before delivery and the service also reaches older demographics who are traditionally slower to online consumer trends.

Despite receiving their ingredients and meals for the week, food box and prepared meal shoppers still purchase main grocery categories in-store. Recognising specific categories that these shoppers need outside the service can help retailers and manufacturers better plan in-store activities in order to capitalise on this trend. For example, food box buyers over index on purchasing baking ingredients such as flour, cocoa and cooking chocolate, unprocessed and baking nuts, suggesting they enjoy baking from scratch.

In the U.S. meal kits were conceived as subscription services and home delivery, but they’ve come a long way in a relatively short time - and they’ve now developed into a growing in-store option for consumers. One quarter of U.S. consumers have purchased a meal kit in the last 12 months (12% delivery and 17% in-store), compared to only 1.5% of Australian respondents. There’s a real opportunity for growth locally, and it’s already beginning to be realised by some retailers who now offer one-off food kit dinners in-store.

Perceiving the impact of omni-channel performance and shoppers is critical for future success. For retailers and manufacturers, understanding consumers, including where they shop and why, is a vital part of knowing which categories to focus assortment on and how to resonate online with consumers.

By Roberto Atipaldi, Associate Director, Nielsen Australia

Want to find out more? Purchase the Nielsen Australian Grocery E-Commerce Report here.


This report explores the Australian online grocery opportunity by looking at key shopper trends in this channel and other factors shaping in this space, to help our clients and the industry better navigate this channel. It provides analysis and understanding of today's e-commerce market and shoppers including: online shopper profiles; digital devices used on the path to purchase; perceptions and attitudes of online grocery shopping; emerging channels; international trends; and strategies for success.