In recent years the meal delivery segment within the diet industry has exploded, with more and more brands trying to break off their piece of the fresh-frozen pie. Some cater to customers on a national level, while others try to keep customers satisfied in their own backyards. While some have been around for decades, Trim360 came on the scene in 2006 and quickly became a popular choice for dieters. The DIR community gave it a 95% User Approval Rating, something brands with longer histories strive to have.
In a message to DIR on December 22 directly from Trim360’s Anna Rachman, RD, she let us know that Trim360 “will no longer be selling meal replacements,” a service that will end before the close of 2011.
However, it’s not a full closure for Trim360. Rachman assured there are plans to continue. “We are restructuring and will be an information web site providing nutrition advice by doctor and dietitian.”
A request for more information about the closure and the plans to move forward were not immediately returned.
The meal delivery service, like many of them, focused on shipping portion-controlled meals to men and women across the country. Multiple plans to suit different dietary needs and lifestyles were provided, as well as more than 50 menu items. Meal delivery diets, like Trim360, offer their mostly female clientele the convenience of not having to plan, prepare, or shop for healthy meals. These services reduce the need to count calories, measure proper portions, and often provide customers with quality chef-inspired meals that are simple as heat and eat.
John LaRosa, president at Marketdata Enterprises, Inc. told us that for one of these meal delivery companies to even get started requires a hefty investment. “Several managers we interviewed for this report say that it takes a lot to start a diet food home delivery business from scratch, requiring an investment of as much as $5-6 million for one engaged in nationwide shipping, less for services providing daily delivery to one or two cities and a much smaller geographic area in one state. The smaller local operations may get started for $500,000 to $1.5 million.”
The report he mentions was a May 2011 study titled “Diet Food Delivery: A Market & Competitor Analysis”, in which LaRosa tells us “we identified approximately 30 companies participating in the meal delivery business. We estimated the market’s value at $925 million.”
Back in 2008, eDiets, another leader in meal delivery, announced in their annual report that the meal delivery segment was worth $1.5 billion and would exceed $2 billion in 2010. Quite a discrepancy from LaRosa’s projections. He says, from their research, they expect this segment of the diet market to “sustain 4.5% average annual growth from 2012 to 2014, reaching $1.09 billion in the latter year.”
LaRosa mentioned 30 companies involved in meal delivery, some of which include Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, Medifast, and Bistro MD. The report found that the average cost for these services runs $726 per month.
“Companies like NutriSystem really drive the growth of this market, since it is the largest competitor in terms of sales,” commented LaRosa. He even names Bistro MD, Medifast, and The Fresh Diet for being “innovative and successful” in the space.
Brands like these will continue to drive the segment through the upcoming years to fulfill the projections from LaRosa’s research. “This market segment is not ‘booming’ right now. Maybe before the recession but not now,” he told us. “It is growing moderately and we would not be surprise to see a shakeout and consolidation, with more small firms getting out of the business.” Trim360 could very well be one of the first of many smaller meal delivery services to bow out of this growing race.
Be sure to turn to DietsInReview.com, the leading diet review site on the web, first for more information about any of the meal delivery diets you may be shopping. Start by reviewing our Meal Delivery Comparison.
December 22nd, 2011