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Despite demand, Africa is left behind by Hello Fresh and other meal kit companies


Meal kit companies have made inroads throughout the North American and European markets. They promise convenience, easy cooking, less hassle, and delicious, fresh food delivered right to your doorstep whenever you want it. For those able to take advantage of these offerings, they generally do live up to their promises. However, there are some areas of the world that are notably left behind. For instance, while there are dozens of meal kit companies serving customers in Western nations, African nations still have few or even no options. 

The Leading Meal Kit Companies Today

You’ll find a host of meal kit companies today depending on where you’re located in the world. For those in Canada, a HelloFresh review shows that not only is this one of the fastest-growing companies in the industry, but also that customers benefit from a very wide range of recipe options. Other contenders include Blue Apron, Chef’s Plate, Fresh City Farms, Goodfood, Prepd, and Miss Fresh to name only a few. 

Move south to the US, and you gain additional options. Europeans have even more companies. However, cross the Strait of Gibraltar and enter North Africa, and those options decline massively. Head south of North Africa, and you lose any options at all until you reach Nigeria and then again in South Africa.

The Growth of Meal Kit Companies

Despite some rocky starts and upheavals, the meal kit industry continues to experience massive growth. According to Hexa Research, the meal kit industry will be worth USD 8.95 billion by 2025.

There are numerous drivers behind the growth of the meal kit industry, as well, including:

  • Consumer demand for access to fresh food
  • Consumer demand for pre-portioned meals
  • Consumer demand for easy-to-prepare meals
  • Consumer interest in learning how to cook with simple recipes
  • Consumer interest in saving time and hassle by avoiding grocery stores

Notably, the press release published by Hexa Research detailing this information included data from every geographic area on the planet and did include Africa, as well as Central and South America, two other areas of the world where meal kit industry expansion has been substantially less than in North America and Europe.

Why is Africa largely left out

Of the major meal kit companies operating in the world, very few serve any locations in Africa. There are a handful of options, mostly concentrated in South Africa and North Africa, with a smattering within other highly-developed, fast-growing African nations like Nigeria. However, for the vast majority of Africans, there are no meal kit options. Why is this? Undoubtedly, Africa is one area where access to fresh, healthy food is of great importance. 

Actually, there are significant challenges that make it virtually impossible for meal kit companies to operate in much of the continent, including the following:

  • Demand: One of the most significant reasons that few meal kit companies operate in Africa is that there is little to no demand from many nations. The West’s hectic lifestyles, lack of portion control, and lack of cooking skills are not as present here. More industrialized, urbanized areas of the continent, on the other hand, do have such demand, which is why the few food companies operating in Africa have concentrated in those areas.
  • Infrastructure: Many African nations have little existing infrastructure, and what does exist is often in poor condition. Meal delivery companies rely on a robust network of roads, bridges, airports, and trains. Internet accessibility and communications networks are also vital considerations. Without that infrastructure, it becomes impossible to deliver fresh, healthy food in a timely (or safe) manner.
  • Conflict: Sadly, many areas of Africa are still marred by significant conflict, which makes it unsafe for meal kit companies to operate without putting personnel in harm’s way.
  • Political Instability: While many African nations are stabilizing, that is not the case for all. Most companies are loath to enter a market if there is the potential for political instability.


Hope for the Future

As Africa continues to stabilize and move into the 21st century, more and more meal kit companies will enter the market to serve African customers. While the meal kit industry in Africa is not expected to grow as much or as fast as in other areas of the world, it is growing, which is a sign of hope for the future.

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