Meal kit delivery is relatively new, but the concept has spawned fierce competition in the last six years. With a raft of similar companies vying for the same customers, the pressure is on for branding teams to make sure their company stands out from the crowd.

That process starts with the company name. And for those of us outside of the meal kit industry, looking at an entire category like this provides great naming lessons for how to differentiate our brands.

Before we tuck in to lessons learned, here is a list of meal-kit delivery competitors (i.e., those that deliver ingredients and recipes, not prepared meals):

Name Launched
Gobble 2010
HelloFresh 2011
Blue Apron 2012
Plated 2012
Chef'd 2013
PeachDish 2013
Home Chef 2014
Sun Basket 2014
Martha & Marley Spoon  2014
Purple Carrot 2014
Green Chef 2014
Daily Harvest 2015
One Potato 2015
Terra's Kitchen 2015
Takeout Kit 2015
Dinnerly 2016
Amazon Meal Kits 2016


As you can see, meal kit positioning has evolved. The very first entrants—Gobble and HelloFresh—chose names that telegraph fresh, tasty food.

Then, the wave of companies that really pushed the category into public view cultivated a gourmet, upscale vibe with names that suggest fine dining or home catering with premium ingredients: Plated, Blue Apron, Chef'd, Home Chef, and Martha & Marley Spoon (capitalizing on the Martha Stewart brand).

The next group courted health-conscious customers who care about sustainability, choosing names that convey plant-based superfoods and kinship with the earth—Sun Basket, Purple Carrot, Green Chef, Daily Harvest, and Terra's Kitchen.

Most recently, market entrants have underscored affordability, with simple, straightforward names—Takeout Kit, Dinnerly (spun off from Marley Spoon), and Amazon Meal Kits.

Of course, in its branding and marketing, each company conveys messages beyond what's obvious from the name. Most of those are common to the category: farm-to-table freshness, great taste, healthful eating, sustainability, ease, convenience. But focusing on the names themselves yields plenty of choice branding morsels.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Mark Skoultchi

Mark Skoultchi is a partner at Catchword, a full-service naming company founded in 1998, with offices in the San Francisco Bay area and New York City. Contact Mark at 212-472-8936.

LinkedIn: Mark Skoultchi