Insight Flash: Consumer Edge UK transaction data dives into spending in the meal kit category.

Leveraging our debit and credit card transaction data, Consumer Edge analyzes the UK meal-kit market in 2023. The advent of smartphone enabled apps, heighted consumer demand for convenience, and increasingly sophisticated delivery networks has propelled meal-kits into a major food category. The industry, which is cost-intensive, low margin and scale-driven, is extremely competitive, particularly in urban centers such as London. Who was the winner in 2023?

Key Takeaways from the UK Meal Kit Market

  1. The UK meal kit market has grown rapidly over the past five years, driven by consumer demand for convenience and fresh, home-cooked food, among other things.
  2. In 2023, HelloFresh had the biggest market share in the UK (43%), well ahead of the closest competitor Gousto (34%). In London, HelloFresh saw its share of spend rise by ~2 ppts in 2023. 
  3. Customer retention remains a thorny issue for meal kit companies. Riverford, which is focused on organic fruit and veg, had the best retention of the major meal kit companies in the UK in 2023. 

Biting into a Bigger Pie

How humans consume food has shifted dramatically over the past few years. The advent of smartphone enabled apps, heighted consumer demand for convenience, and increasingly sophisticated delivery networks have propelled meal-kits into a major food category. The industry, which is cost-intensive, low margin and scale-driven, is extremely competitive, particularly in urban centers such as London. In the UK, one of the most sophisticated markets in the world for food delivery, the meal-kit market has exhibited significant growth. The chart shows that since 2018, the meal-kit market has grown almost fourfold.

Hello, HelloFresh

The biggest meal-kit company in the UK by market share is HelloFresh. In 2023, the company had 43% of share, up marginally from 42% in 2022. HelloFresh’s success in the UK is due to a myriad of factors, including catering to customers with different diets by offering a wide variety of recipe options, leveraging learnings from its overseas markets and utilizing its data-driven technology platform to provide a more personalized experience. Nonetheless, the UK market remains competitive and concentrated. The second and third biggest players in 2023 were Gousto and Riverford, both of which are private. Investors can analyze both public and private companies using CE’s proprietary transaction data.

Leveling Up in London

Given the relatively attractive economics, London is one of the key battlegrounds in the UK. Urban centers, due to denser populations, tend to be more attractive for meal-kit providers because of the ability to batch multiple orders per delivery. Investors are able to analyze regional trends in the meal kit market using transaction data from CE. In 2023, HelloFresh’s market share in London increased by ~2 ppts. The company has steadily improved its share since 2020. Abel & Cole meanwhile has been one of the biggest losers of share in London since 2020. It has seen its share of spend fall by ~6 ppts.  

Meal Kit Customer Retention Issues Remain

Customer retention is a thorny issue for meal-kit companies. This critical component of the industry can be analyzed using Consumer Edge’s transaction data. Customer acquisition costs for meal-kit companies are significant, and given the customer churn, unit economics can deteriorate rapidly. Data from CE suggests that of the major meal kit companies operational in the UK, HelloFresh had the worst retention, with ~9% staying with HelloFresh after 12 months. Riverford, meanwhile, which is focused on organic fruit and veg, had the best customer retention. The proportion of customers that stayed with Riverford 12 months after purchase stood at just over 20%. 

Track UK Meal Kit Trends with Consumer Edge Data

Data from Consumer Edge suggests that HelloFresh is winning in London. The company has seen its share of spend rise by >5 ppts since 2020, standing at 29% in 2023. Given the attractive economics of London, this should be viewed as a positive development. Customer retention continues to be a thorny issue for the meal-kit industry, however. In the UK, in 2023, the proportion of customers staying with major meal kit companies on average after the first 12 months stood at ~16%. 

Investors can monitor these trends in the UK by utilizing CE’s proprietary transaction data.


Consumer Edge is the leading provider of alternative data for consumer spending behavior, and the only provider of global revenue signals. Our data offers insights into not only in the meal kit market but in hundreds of industries, subindustries, tickers, and symbols across the globe. If you’d like to benefit from using Transact EUR or US or other products for industry data year-round to track trends and dynamics like these, reach out to insights@consumer-edge.com.

About the Authors

Michael Gunther is the VP Head of Insights for the CEIC. Explore more of his insights here and follow him on LinkedIn.

Ruhell Amin is a Senior Insights Analyst for the CEIC. Explore more of his insights here and follow him on LinkedIn.