Meal kit delivery is big business. Appropriately, recent months have seen numerous big businesses such as retail giant The Kroger Company publicly express interest in potentially partnering with delivery services to claim a share of what is a $1.5 billion market according to estimates by market research firm Packaged Facts in the report Meal Kit Delivery Services in the US.

Looking ahead, Packaged Facts projects meal kit services will deliver on their promising momentum and will grow into a multi-billion dollar market over the next five years. Such high expectations make it understandable why any food industry player would seriously consider joining what will likely only become a potentially lucrative—albeit an increasingly competitive—market.

On September 6, chocolate manufacturer The Hershey Company became arguably the most notable player to officially enter the meal kit delivery market. Hershey announced a partnership with online meal kit marketplace Chef’d that would bolster the latter company’s already growing meat kit offerings with Hershey’s iconic desserts. The partnership has the distinction of being the first time branded desserts enter the online meal kit market. As an added bonus, consumers can order kits any time from, and without paying a subscription or membership fees.

For food manufacturers more so than for restaurateurs and grocers, these types of brand partnerships may also help ease some of the concerns about sales potentially lost to meal kit delivery services. Manufacturers can instead work with meal kit producers to create convenient dishes and now desserts that help push their products through the e-commerce channel.

“The Hershey’s-Chef’d collaboration lends the meal kit market an intriguing wrinkle—that of brand partnership,” says David Sprinkle, research director, Packaged Facts. “And the fact that this is a dessert-themed meal kit service distinguishes it from other companies that are focused more on providing people with convenient ways to cook full meals at home without the necessity of meal planning or grocery shopping. In business as it is in life, never underestimate the power of America’s sweet tooth and anything that makes satisfying our indulgent cravings more convenient. The question is no longer just ‘what’s for dinner’ but also ‘what’s for dessert.’”

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