Fast and Fabulous: Tap into The Billion-Dollar Gourmet Convenience Market

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Cyan Zhong
Cyan Zhong



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What comes to mind when you hear “gourmet’?

Probably not convenience food.

But that’s exactly what today’s consumers desire — premium morsels served in ultra-convenient formats.

  • Grab-and-go meal sales have risen 72% post-pandemic
  • Meal-kit delivery services are a $20B+ market, and growing
  • Retail snack sales rose to $214B in 2023

Screenshot 2024-06-11 at 6.07.11 PM

Convenience foods and meal kit delivery services grow as consumers seek out easier dining experiences. Source: Statista

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Meanwhile, consumers are hungry for new tastes and global flavors. Millennials and Gen Zers are leading the hunt for unique, international ingredients. 

One such example is ube, or purple yam, a staple of Filipino cuisine. With an aesthetic appeal and many health benefits, it was the ingredient to watch in 2023, and has been named a leading flavor in 2024 as well. 

Screenshot 2024-06-17 at 11.29.27 AM

Ube-tter not miss out on this! Source: Foodaciously

Ube is just one of many up-and-coming ingredients with global influences.

The trend is clear: Consumers are busy and want to taste the best, fast.

For entrepreneurs, we see two big areas of opportunities:

1. Zoom in on The Gourmet

You can make serious dough by elevating everyday foods into a gourmet experience.

🥨 Premium Snack Attack

Snacks, the ultimate convenience food, are ripe for disruption.

Retail snack sales in 2023 rose to ~$214B

They take up 27% of all food & bev sales in the US, and 54% of consumers are snacking to treat themselves.

Consumers want artisanal, crafty snacks that make them feel good. So start sprinkling in unique flavors, ingredients and presentation to premium-ize your snack offerings.

You don’t have to look at Pinterest to know gourmet cookies are all the rage – just look out your window every time a new Crumbl Cookies opens up. What began as a single family-owned bakery in 2017 has exploded to 800+ stores in North America.

Screenshot 2024-06-17 at 11.28.41 AM

The Viera, FLCrumblopening touted long lines and heat exhaustion. Give the people cookies!

A healthy spin will also get you noticed: Demand for healthier snacks is up ~ 252% from 2022 to 2023. Pitch to offices or college campuses, where busy workers and students are time-strapped to track down healthy munchies.

🥫 Get Saucy

The hot sauce market will heat up to ~$5.1B by 2030, making it fertile ground for bold flavor experiments.

Sell a subscription box of artisanal sauces – hot or otherwise – from different regions. Tag on an app introducing the ingredients of each sauce, their origins, and the recipes they’re best paired with (we see quizzes, merch, socials… content galore 😍).

Brightland, a seller of artisanal oil, vinegar and honey, has 147k followers on Instagram and rakes in $5.3m in annual revenue.

Screenshot 2024-06-17 at 11.28.50 AMDip in the sweet, lucrative sauce biz. Source: Brightland

🍱 Nourish The Young

School lunches famously suck. As more health-conscious Millennials become parents, they’ll want better options for their children. 

Meal delivery services are popular among busy adults, but not many are focused on kids. 

Screenshot 2024-06-11 at 6.35.47 PM

CookUnity, a meal delivery service, lets you choose chef-made meals from a menu of diverse global cuisines. Source: Google Trends, six-month rolling average

Build a “CookUnity Junior” like Nurture Life (which raised ~$7m) that targets children’s nutritional needs.

Make it available to parents, and partner with local K-12 schools to offer convenient, healthy and diverse lunch options. Include fun tidbits so the munchkins keep coming back for more (think: Happy (but healthy) Meals).

Boost their well-being and elevate their palates – no one’s too young to be a gourmet. 

2. Nibble on Nearby Niches

If you’re not in the food business, don’t worry – there are still plenty of ways to cash in:

🎯 Offer marketing services to help new brands build competitive moat in the fast gourmet market, and help older brands reinvent themselves.

🎨 Illustrate aesthetic snack packages and sauce bottles. Heck, even design storefronts for boutique retailers or supermarkets that focus on the gourmet experience. Sprinkle in a little AI magic … the sky’s the limit.

🗞️ Start a newsletter or YouTube channel to introduce global ingredients to everyday consumers. Sample the foods yourself to add a personal touch. It pays to tap into people’s curiosity and desire for new experiences.

However you slice it, the gourmet convenience market is a cornucopia of mouth-watering opportunities. So go on, take a bite! 

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