Competition has enabled 2015 Rising Stars winner Dinner Twist to define its niche in the meal kit industry.
New competitors in Perth’s meal kit business have pushed award-winner Dinner Twist to regain a market edge by focusing on local fresh products, less packaging and reduced food waste.
Dinner Twist co-founder and managing director Chris Tistrand, who started the business with his wife, My, in 2012 after seeing the meal kit concept in action in their home country Sweden, said it had been a rollercoaster ride since global giant HelloFresh entered the growing Perth market in 2017.
Mr Tistrand said he soon realised HelloFresh and Dinner Twist were both creating meal kits, home-delivered boxes of ingredients with corresponding recipes, and promoting them as a healthy, local and convenient alternative to cooking dinner.
“We have just had to re-strategise a lot and go into depth into what is important to us and what we can do really well,” Mr Tistrand told Business News.
After a rethink, the Dinner Twist team worked out there was a market of customers who were connected with the things they were passionate about.
Mr Tistrand said while HelloFresh was working on mass marketing and discount codes, creating awareness of the industry, Dinner Twist decided to provide niche services to people who care about the packaging, lower food waste and clean food.
“From that point of view, it doesn’t really bother us HelloFresh was growing like crazy because they are creating market awareness and there is a large chunk of people who are looking for a different alternative and we tick more of those boxes,” he said.
HelloFresh is not the only competitor in the industry, with several local businesses entering the Perth market as the concept has become more popular.
This Little Pig Went to Market was established in 2013, You Plate It joined the market in 2014, Prep’d entered in 2016 and My Foodie Box came on to the scene in 2018.
Mr Tistrand said there was a friendly and respectful rivalry between the Perth meal kit businesses.
“When faced with competition you have the choice to focus on their weaknesses or your strengths,” he said.
“We’ve chosen the latter and for us that’s offering convenience with a conscience.
“If you think it is important with less food waste, if you think it is important there is less plastic and less packaging, if you think it is important to have clean ingredients then you are a great fit for us and if not, there are plenty of other companies that can offer you convenience around dinner.”
Dinner Twist has expanded to sell a nutrition-high, gluten-free wholesome box, and a plant-based box, in addition to the express box and the family box.
Mr Tistrand said he was working on making the operation more sustainable by minimising packaging, reusing boxes and recycling any soft plastics the company supplied.
Since being named a Business News Rising Star in 2015, the company has gone from employing four staff to 45 this year and has moved six times to accommodate its growth.
Dinner Twist chalked up $660,000 in sales in the 2014-15 financial year and is on track to reach $7 million in revenue this financial year.
Mr Tistrand would not reveal the number of customers the business had but said it was in the thousands.
In 2018, the company was named number 30 in the Financial Times’ FT1000: High Growth Companies Asia Pacific, with revenue growth of 1,555 per cent in 2013-2016.
Dinner Twist has expanded to provide new services, including artisan food items in its ‘marketplace’.
The online marketplace, Mr Tistrand said, enabled people to access quality, niche products, which were difficult to find elsewhere and have them sent with their weekly box.
He said the company was aiming to expand into other parts of Australia now it had defined its place in the Perth market.
“We have been working on defining our niche, we are finding that there is definitely a market for it, there is a large demographic of people looking for what we can offer in terms of clean food and less environmental impact,” he said.
“We are definitely talking about taking that to different parts of Australia.”