Yumble, a meal delivery service for children, announced a round of Series A funding, led by Krave Jerky founder Jon Sebastiani and Danone Manifesto Ventures. According to a company press release, the product targets parents of children aged 4 to 12. It appeals to picky tastes, includes healthy foods popular with parents and uses seasonal, local and organic ingredients when possible. Media reports estimated the latest funding round was $7 million.
- Yumble has raised $8.5 million to date, which it plans to invest in marketing and a national expansion. Since it launched, founders Joanna and David Parker claimed they have posted growth of 30% month-over-month.
- "As a mom, I know we're solving a truly painful problem for parents: wanting to put healthy and tasty food in front of our kids but having no time to actually do it," Joanna Parker said in a statement. "So, it's no surprise to me that parents are finding value in our service. What's surprised me so far is how big of an impact we've had in just one year and with only a team of seven people! It's exciting to imagine what we'll be able to accomplish with these new resources and partners."
Yumble is the latest meal-kit or prepared foods delivery service company to enter an already crowded market. With a low barrier for entry, the $5 billion meal kit market has become infiltrated with more than 150 companies, according to Packaged Facts.
Yumble has a long road ahead as players in the ultra-competitive space struggle with profitability.The ongoing challenges are even deterring some people from investing in the sector. According to L.E.K. Consulting, investors poured $450 million into meal kit ventures in 2016. That number dropped to $100 million in 2017.
Brands have struggled as customer acquisition costs remain high, often around $80 per person. And according to Cardlytics, half of all meal kit users cancel their subscriptions in six months or less, and two-thirds cancel within a year, making it hard for the upfront investment to pay off. Market leaders HelloFresh and Blue Apron are struggling to make a profit, and countless others have gone out of business or been taken over. Chef'd, for example, shut its doors during the summer before being picked up by a new owner.
Yumble hits on a lot of the hot trends that are important to consumers, and young parents in particular. Their meals do not include fructose corn syrup; artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or colors; hydrogenated fats; antibiotic filled meats; or peanuts or nuts, among other ingredients. It does benefit from the expertise and financial backing of Danone and the Krave founder, but that is not enough to guarantee its success — Campbell Soup and Smithfield both invested in Chef'd before its demise.
Yumble claims to have struck a cord with busy parents who gravitate to its products because they want healthy cuisine for their children but have little time to prepare it. Yumble is smart to focus on this core audience that seems to have been largely ignored by the existing players, but it would be wise to partner with another meal kit company or introduce more adult-based products on its own to expand its reach beyond children once they become teenagers and are looking for something else in the food they eat. This would help build customer loyalty.
For now, Yumble may excel in helping parents feed their children with kid-friendly lunches, dinners and snacks, but parents still need to feed themselves. Along with the challenges that meal kit companies have in keeping customers, this could deter parents from sticking around; they might as well invest their limited time in making one meal that the whole family can enjoy.
One avenue where a meal-kit like Yumble might do well is the supermarket. Consumers often prefer this option because it doesn’t mean planning ahead by a few days and ordering the meal. A busy parent could grab a Yumble meal at the store to give their children.