Hershey’s announced this month a partnership with online meal kit marketplace Chef’d to sell branded dessert kits. While some criticized the products as an overpriced “travesty,” the brand’s embrace of the growing trend reflects the digital savvy that earned Hershey’s a Gifted ranking in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food.

“The rise of the meal kit market is undeniable,” said Carrie Lathrop, the chocolate company’s manager for e-commerce and emerging channels.

Meal kit delivery services have become a $1.5 billion industry in just a few years, and some analysts predict that the market will soar to $36 billion in the next decade. Together with grocery suppliers like Instacart, meal kit startups are raising more money than companies delivering restaurant meals for the first time. More than 150 companies compete in the U.S., and big names including Kroger and Tyson have considered plunging into the fray.

Chef'd and Hershey's collaborate

By getting in early, Hershey’s could be getting a head start on the competition. The kits will be sold on the Hershey’s site, as well as Chefd, bolstering the brand’s already strong digital presence: Hershey’s best-in-class integration of product content and recipes helped it earn its spot in L2’s top 10 Food brands. And as consumers seek healthier snacks, the kits could even help Hershey’s shift away from candy and reframe its image as a provider of gourmet ingredients.


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