How to Start a Successful Meal Prep Business in 2022

June 20, 2022

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The word “meal” sounds like pizza, burger, or sandwich, but a meal prep business is quite different. Meal preparation businesses are about selling nutritious and healthy food to customers.

As people are dealing with their demanding working hours, family responsibilities, and other things, there is no time left for them to prepare their supper. Starting such meal prep businesses is a solution to such problems.

Successful businesses that work on meal prep models are Blue Apron, Plated, and Hello Fresh. These businesses are flourishing because today’s generation, Millennials, and Gen X, are the leading buyers in this segment. The revenue is expected to reach 64.4 billion U.S. dollars by 2030; three times increase from 2020.

Thus, if you have a unique food prep business idea, you have the golden opportunity now as it is the right time to start online meal prep kit delivery services.

Whereas, if you are exploring starting a meal prep startup, then in this article, we are covering everything to create a successful business.

What is a meal prep business, and who are your customers?

Like other food businesses with a difference, this business offers nutritious ready-to-eat food. Consumers can eat it after heating it in the microwave.

People like to order a meal because of time constraints in making food and buying groceries. Ordering online saves their time and allows them to allow different cuisines.

Your target customers are the ones who prefer a healthy lifestyle, want to lose weight, and do not have time to cook and enjoy a healthy as well as nutritious diet regularly.

What must be the ideal place to start this business?

You are starting your business for your customers, right!! And before starting it, you must first search for an ideal space for your business.

Location plays a vital role in any business you are planning to start. You can look for places with many organizations as they dont have time to concentrate on health.

Popular meal preferences of customers in 2022

The food business can never fail. There are multiple food businesses, and still, numerous unique food startups are coming your way because people prefer different sorts of cuisines. Here is the list of popular meal prep businesses loved by customers in 2022.

Vegan Meal Prep Business

People who go vegan prefer to eat food that does not contain animal products like dairy products, eggs, meat, etc. Such meals are cooked using green vegetables and vegan-friendly ingredients. These meals take time to cook and are expensive because they may lead to nutrient deficiencies if you miss vital ingredients.

Developing a meal kit on the monthly subscription model is an excellent idea, as buying such meals regularly is not something everyone can do.

Kids Meal Prep Business

Parents are busy these days with their jobs and other work that they do not feed their children with healthy food, and starting such businesses will be a great idea as it lessens their efforts in preparing such meals. Thus, allow consumers to order a meal kit as per their requirements with the number of meals in a week.

What must be your meal delivery business model?

If you plan to start a meal prep business, you need to understand the different business models, as companies rely on these models only. Thus it’s best to assess these before choosing your business requirements.

1. Goal-oriented meal delivery model

People who want to lead a healthy life and have a special diet (like low sodium meals, diabetic-friendly meals, vegan meals, low-uric acid meals, low fiber meals, and gluten-free meals) plans require meals as per their required ingredients. These meals take a lot of time to cook but also are expensive. Thus, considering all the facts, you need to go with a subscription model where you charge them based on a weekly or monthly week plan.

How does this model work when there are multiple vendors involved?

  • On the platform, numerous registered dietitians list goal-oriented meals.

  • Customers can look over the meals that have been listed.

  • They subscribe for a meal and pay for it.

  • The business owner charges a commission fee from the vendor.

  • The business owner or the respective chefs, dieticians, etc., ensures that meals are delivered regularly.

2. Pre-cooked storable meal delivery model

You as a business can also start a business model that targets students and working professionals living away from home and who have busy schedules to cook or get the meal delivered to their place. This set of customers will be your target market who prefer pre-cooked frozen meals such as porridge, steak, instant noodles, mashed potatoes, lentils and beans, frozen burritos/ pizzas, and much more.

How does this model work when there are multiple vendors involved?

  • Several restaurants, food services, etc., use the platform to order pre-cooked meals.

  • Consumers explore the available food items and add them to their shopping cart. They then choose the quantity and pay.

  • The vendor receives the remainder after the business owner deducts a commission.

  • The meal is delivered by the selected restaurant or food service.

3. Meal-kit delivery business model

The meal-kit model works on a subscription and on-demand basis. They get a subscription of meals which means how many meals are required in a week.

How does this model work when there are multiple vendors involved?

  • Numerous vendors or chefs register and list their cuisines and items on the online website or app

  • A customer looks through the meals that have been posted.

  • They can either add a meal to their cart or choose how many meals they want to be delivered each week.

  • The respective vendor or chef provides the meal. Customers pay, and the business owner deducts a fee before transferring the remaining funds to the vendor.

How to start a meal prep delivery business?

To start a business, one must undergo various factors as necessary as a business idea, like the funding delivery process. To do your successful business, look into these critical factors.

Financial Planning

Once you know what is your business niche goal-oriented, pre-made or meal-kit, the next step is financing. To start your financial planning, you need to calculate gross margin and total sales minus the cost necessary to deliver the meal. Other prices include supplies, payroll, utilities, rent, etc. After calculating the economic objection of your business, you will get the right idea or required finances.

Competitive analysis

To break new grounds, you need to analyze your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses in-depth. Also, you need to concentrate on the loopholes that they overlook. Your study must also include competitors’ pricing, unique selling point, and customer experience with their business.

Thus, based on these understandings, you can design your meal prep business plan to lead your business to new heights of success.

License, insurance, and permits

A meal prep company’s legal protection will be ensured by its official registration. It will ratify the government’s obligations to businesses and vice versa. Once a business owner acquires a license, they can take advantage of tax breaks and government programs to gain an edge over unregistered competitors.

Several private investors are also happy to fund registered businesses, which is a significant benefit of getting a license. State or industry-specific statutory bodies can provide information on business registration and license.

Types of licenses and permits are as follows:

  • Business license

  • Employee health permit

  • Sales privilege license

  • Food handler’s license

  • Catering license

  • Health department permits

  • Zoning permits

Business insurance

For startups, business insurance is essential. It provides coverage against significant damages and losses to critical business assets, among other benefits for a meal prep business.

Numerous business insurance plans also cover third-party liability, which protects you if your company causes incidental damage or loss to another person, company, or property. Aside from benefits, business insurance also covers lawsuits, unintended infringement of third-party copyrights, and destruction and losses caused by natural disasters.

Strategy for meal prep delivery business

It’s critical to ensure that your buyers’ orders arrive hot and fresh. To get everything in place, figure out what cooling method you’d like to use to keep your products safe, what delivery service you’ll use, and what must be the delivery charges to deliver it correctly.

Create An Online Ordering Platform

Your meal prep business will mainly depend upon subscription, and for that, you need an online platform to let customers buy from you after selecting the required meal option. So, you can either develop a website or mobile app to run your business smoothly. Make sure that you hire a mobile app developer or website developer that creates an easy-to-use and user-friendly application on every platform you choose.

Go-To-Market Strategy

GTM strategy refers to how you want to position your food prep business in the market and impact the minds of your consumers. The Go-To-Market Strategy entails specifying the value proposition that a company seeks to deliver to all its customers and gaining a comprehensive knowledge of buyer personas. The GTM strategy covers various topics, including MVP development, pricing, value proposition selection, and marketing.

The go-to-market strategy consists of 7Ps: product, price, place, promotion, people, processes, and physical evidence that will help you understand important aspects of developing a business strategy.

How to promote your meal prep business?

Once you have launched your business, you must concentrate on your business awareness among customers. And to do this, you must take advantage of ads in newspapers, billboards, social media, etc.

After you get loyal customers and people know about your business, you must shift towards offering discounts, first free meals, reward points, gift cards, and much more to your customers.

When sales start getting in a few months later, this is the time to retain your customers by sending emails containing lucrative food images.

How to attract various food business owners to your platform?

  • The next challenge is to persuade businesses to register on the platform after introducing the company through ad campaigns and press releases. This can be accomplished by assisting them in posting listings to the platform, as vendors who primarily sell on other websites will be hesitant to reprise their efforts in uploading their product catalogs.

  • You can withdraw smaller commissions or charge no commission for the first few orders as the marketplace owner.

  • To attract chefs, dietitians, and nutritionists, it is best to use email marketing. They will easily be ready to sell food if approached correctly.

How much does it cost to start a meal prep business?

The cost of starting a meal prep business will vary depending on how you want to go about it. If it is restricted to a specific area, the price of beginning a meal preparation business will be lower. However, if you have a bigger picture in mind and want to build a business scattered worldwide, the price can be as high as you want.

Building a kitchen will cost between $8,000 and $10,000, while developing a mobile app for your business by a dedicated mobile development company will cost anywhere between $15,000 and $50,000, depending on your requirements, features you want to add, and platform.

Also, the cost of app development varies per developer location as different locations have diverse hourly rates.

How much money does a meal prep company make?

If we consider the revenue of HelloFresh’s business, it had global revenue of nearly six billion euros in 2021, with 3.5 million customers in the U.S. alone. You can imagine how much money you can make if your business is a hit like HelloFresh. After knowing the stats, what must you think about starting your business?


Starting any business needs your commitment to research, analyses of competitors, market trends, and much more. You can create a meal prep business from home to start your business. When it begins getting profits, you can proceed further.

Now that you have an idea and knowledge about what to consider before starting a meal prep business, it’s time to plan it in reality.

About the Author Surya Sharma is the Digital Marketing Manager at RV Technologies and has 6+ years of experience working as a digital marketing expert. He strives to work with global brands and help them establish a strong brand presence in their respective markets, resulting in better lead generation opportunities. He possesses a sound understanding of modern-day digital marketing practices that allow companies to grow beyond their potential. In his spare time, Surya likes to pen down his knowledge regarding different digital marketing trends so that people stay on top of the latest tactics and implement them on time to sustain a consistent client retention rate

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