By the end of 2019, HelloFresh was able to deliver a profit for the first time in its history. Ever since it was founded in 2011, its founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Dominik Richter and his team had worked tirelessly to turn HelloFresh into the largest player in the global meal kit industry. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic at the beginning of 2020 fundamentally changed the landscape and triggered changes in customer behavior that marked the beginning of outstanding revenue growth for HelloFresh. With millions of households forced to stay home, restaurants closed and widespread fear among people about catching the coronavirus, HelloFresh found itself in an ideal setting to grow as its home-delivered, delicious and healthy meal kits enjoyed terrific success across markets. Moving its global customer base up from 2.5 to 4.2 million in just a few months, HelloFresh was looking confidently at 2021 and beyond. Yet, two challenges appeared to be critical for the company going forward. First, even though sales had grown as a result of the lockdowns imposed by governments in several markets, could this remarkable growth be maintained in post-pandemic times? Second, the company had already invested heavily in its sustainability strategy, with Richter announcing in August 2020 that the company aimed to become the first carbon-neutral meal kit company globally, primarily through its participation in carbon offsetting programs. Yet, high amounts of plastics were still used in each HelloFresh box delivered worldwide. Would the carbon offsetting programs be enough to really win the sustainability battle going forward?
- Analyze the extent to which the Covid-19 pandemic has changed consumer behavior, specifically in relation to the meal kit industry.
- Analyze the extent to which sustainability-related issues have impacted the operations of companies such as HelloFresh.
- Explore the need for a meal kit player’s strategy to be adjusted in view of the pandemic and the overall objective of maintaining growth in a post-Covid-19 scenario.
- Explore a sustainability strategy in an environment characterized by rising concerns among key stakeholders.