- HelloFresh brought in U.S. revenue of 820 million euros ($916 million) during the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of 40% in constant currency over the same period in 2020, the German meal kit company reported on Tuesday. For all of 2021, HelloFresh's U.S. revenue came in at 3.4 billion euros, up 65% over 2020.
- The company had 3.5 million active customers in the United States in Q4, up 35% compared with Q4 of 2020, when it had 2.6 million.
- While HelloFresh continued to expand in 2021, the company saw its growth rate slow significantly compared to the previous year, when the pandemic was in full swing.
HelloFresh's expansion may have decelerated during 2021, but the company said it still was able to significantly outperform its expectations for the year. The meal kit maker, which operates in 16 countries in addition to the U.S., grew overall revenue by 61.5% in 2021 on a year-over-year basis, well above the 20% to 25% it had projected, co-founder and CEO Dominik Richter said during an earnings call on Tuesday.
By comparison, HelloFresh saw its global sales grow 111% in 2020 in constant currency compared with 2019, while sales in the U.S. grew 107% over that period.
HelloFresh's active customer growth rate, number of meals delivered and order totals all grew in Q4 of 2021 at a slower year-over-year pace than they did during the same quarter in 2020 in the U.S. and worldwide.
The company reiterated its guidance for 2022, which envisions overall revenue growth of 20% to 26%.
While the rate of meal kit sales might be slowing for HelloFresh, Richter said sales of ready-to-eat meals are increasing rapidly and promise to be a source of strong growth going forward. The company said it saw "triple-digit" growth in 2021 in its ready-to-eat meal business in 2021, which includes Australian ready-to-eat meal supplier Youfoodz in addition to Factor75. HelloFresh acquired YouFoodz in 2021.
Factor75, the Illinois-based ready-to-eat meal company HelloFresh acquired in 2020, is now the largest ready-to-eat meal company in the U.S. as measured by market share, HelloFresh said.
Ready-to-eat meals could account for $1 billion in sales for HelloFresh "in the not too distant future," Richter said.
HelloFresh has been building market share in the ready-to-eat space because customers are buying ready-to-eat meals as add-ons when they place orders for meal kits through HelloFresh Market, an online store the company launched in the U.S in July, Richter said.
Richter added he believes HelloFresh stands apart from competitors like Blue Apron and Marley Spoon, which also sell ready-to-eat meals, because it differentiates its range of prepared offerings from its meal kits.
"I think the value proposition of those type of meals is just very, very different in a stand-alone product than what you can offer when you dedicate a couple of slots in your overall menu to it because you can actually talk to a very different consumer, a consumer that only consumes ready-to-eat," Richter said.
Richter said the company is currently pressing the limits of its ability to produce ready-to-eat meals but should be able to set aside that constraint by late 2022, when a new fulfillment and distribution center the company recently opened outside Chicago for its Factor business is expected to be at full speed.
The 100,000-square-foot facility, in Lake Zurich, Illinois, will allow HelloFresh to increase its meal delivery production and delivery capacity by a factor of three, according to the company.