Sodexo has signed a partnership with leading meal kit company HelloFresh that will offer delivery of HelloFresh and EveryPlate branded meal kits to students at the more than 300 U.S. colleges and universities where Sodexo operates. The program will utilize Sodexo’s BiteU app through which students can preselect, order and schedule meal kits for delivery.
The HelloFresh menu offers an extensive rotating weekly menu that can accommodate specialty diets such as vegetarian, while EveryPlate offers an ever-changing menu of simple, affordable chef-curated recipes with vegetarian and gourmet options. The meal kits arrive with fresh, premeasured ingredients, step-by-step instructions and all the necessary tools to get the meal together in 30 minutes or less and students have the option to cancel, change or skip orders at any time.
“Our campus dining program is focused on enabling choice and convenience,” noted Kevin Rettle, vice president, global offer development and digital innovation, Sodexo Universities and Schools, in a statement accompanying the partnership announcement. “Our partnership with HelloFresh allows us to expand our resident dining experience and provide an affordable, family meal-style option for students and customers.”
The move is the latest in what seems to be an evolution of onsite dining programs into offsite services across various markets. In K-12, take-home meals have been a staple since the COVID pandemic hit a year ago, while hospitals have increasingly started issuing “prescriptions” for healthy foods to discharged patients, who are sent home with supplies of pre-prepared meals or meal ingredients. Even corporate dining programs have been exploring an updated version of Home Meal Replacement with the offering of take-home meals for staff leaving for the day, and in some cases also the availability of meals delivered to remote workers as an extension of the traditional onsite dining amenity.
Sodexo’s move with HelloFresh, which follows on the company’s recent acquisition of meal order/delivery firm Nourish Inc. and the expansion of its European Good Eating Company brand to the U.S., seems to indicate its anticipation that remote meal delivery programs have market potential across multiple segments going forward.
The company’s proprietary BiteU app, which the HelloFresh program will utilize, connects back-end card systems to make meal plans and payment options seamless and creates a secure, cashless environment across campuses. Since launching, BiteU has been deployed at 40% of Sodexo-serviced sites, according to the company, and is expected to achieve 80% deployment by August 2021.
“We are excited to partner with Sodexo to bring both our HelloFresh and EveryPlate brand meal kits to college campuses across the country,” said Andreas Sossong, vice president, strategic projects at HelloFresh US in the announcement release. “Busy students should have a convenient, affordable way to enjoy delicious, homecooked meals with high-quality ingredients. We look forward to introducing this unique cooking experience to students at additional campuses throughout the year.”