Waitrose & Partners, the food retail division of John Lewis Partnership, will become the first supermarket in Britain to launch a recipe box service from January, following a tie-up with 2015 startup Mindful Chef.
The 12-week test will enable customers to try what Waitrose describes as “high quality recipe boxes by the UK’s highest rated recipe box company”, based on TrustPilot scores. As well as being first to market, the higher-end supermarket chain also claims to be the only U.K. service that’s currently offering one-person options and carbon neutral deliveries.
Part of the strategy of the tie-up—which is co-branded as Waitrose x Mindful Chef—is to reach new audiences and gives customers more convenient access to new Waitrose products “to ensure we are adapting to people’s changing cooking and shopping habits” the company said.
Waitrose has already stepped up convenience by using Deliveroo’s ever expanding services in 150 locations. They generated almost £1 million in sales per week for the food retailer from new younger customers in the first half of 2021. The company has also reached an agreement to open Waitrose units in 125 Shell fuel forecourts by 2025.
The supermarket has seen its U.K. store count fall from 353 in 2018 to 331 today though Waitrose’s market share has remained stable at around 5% up to May 2021. Online sales have increased, shifting to a 17% share from 11% a year ago. According to retail analyst Kantar, Waitrose was the fastest-growing online supermarket since the pandemic began.
Playing catch up with consumers
“We know many consumers are moving to a hybrid way of shopping and eating, with a mix of recipe boxes, in-store and online,” said Waitrose commercial director Charlotte di Cello in a statement. “We want this Mindful Chef collaboration to help spark some recipe inspiration for those customers looking to try something new and convenient.”
Each box offers nutritionist-designed recipes alongside all the ingredients. In addition Waitrose is throwing in complimentary full-size extras from its Cooks’ Ingredients ranges as a sampling exercise. Customers can choose between two and five recipes a week from a list of 20 that changes from one week to the next.
Mindful Chef founder and chief marketing officer Giles Humphries commented: “We’ve been on an exciting journey since 2015 delivering over 20 million healthy meals to households across the U.K. With Waitrose we are bringing delicious food direct to people’s homes a partnership which has never been done before in U.K. grocery.”
The launch ticks the right boxes for the growing numbers of ethical and sustainably-minded food consumers. All Mindful Chef chicken is British free range; its fish is sustainably sourced; and its beef is British from grass-fed heritage breed cattle. In addition, for every meal sold, Mindful Chef donates one school meal to a child living in poverty through the One Feeds Two charity which has grown to include an American offshoot since 2018.
Underlining its healthy eating credentials, Mindful Chef is an official nutrition partner of the English Institute of Sport and also works with the British Heart Foundation on a range of recipes.
The website to place orders from the new venture goes live from Wednesday December 29 and the first boxes will be delivered from January 4.