How to Start a Meal Prep Business from the Scratch

Mayur Panchal
blog updated dateUpdated Date: Feb 27, 2024

How to Start a Meal Prep Business from the Scratch

Did you know, a report by Statista suggested that the kit delivery service is expected to achieve 7.6 billion U.S. dollars worldwide in 2024? Also, good news for those exploring how to start a meal prep business.

Importantly, the data is taken before the coronavirus outbreak, it may record a massive spike in demand as people are exploring ways to get the grocery and food delivered at home (safely) instead of going out to stores or restaurants.

The projection is threefold growth from the total of 2.5 billion U.S. dollars revenue in 2017. Let’s take a look at the meal kit service market share worldwide from 2017 to 2025. However, we believe that the real picture will be completely different as we have observed during the lockdown that only medical, online food delivery services and a few other essential services were operational.

meal prep service market share

This pandemic has brought nightmares for almost all business sectors, but for a few, it has been a golden opportunity. For example, online businesses, online delivery services and more. In fact, you can see many startups and Explore DoorDash delivery business models to turn this adversity into opportunity.

So, if you have an excellent business idea and are looking to start a meal prep delivery service, you have the golden opportunity now.

At the same time, if you are puzzled if you should go with the idea of starting a meal prep company and if it turns into a successful business, then we’ve three reasons to say “YES”, you should start it.

  • First, as people tend to avoid seat-in dining and in-store grocery shopping, online meal kit delivery service is set to reign the food industry.
  • Second, as people around the world are getting busier, obtaining food is becoming easier than ever before.
  • Third but most important, you are a chef and want to start your own business with the lowest upfront cost, or you have a passion for food and want to live your passion.

Therefore, if you are committed to your business idea, then you have the opportunity to make the most out of the time.

Whereas, if you are exploring how to start the meal prep business, then stay tuned with this article as we have everything you need to start your business and make it successful.

So, let’s start with the basics;

What is a Meal Prep Business?

It appears similar to packaged food or fast food like pizza, puff, sandwich, burger or others. But meal prep for sale business differs a little bit. It provides nutritious and healthy food options to people who are too busy to have time to prepare healthy food for themselves.

The meal prep services deliver ready-to-eat gourmet food to customers who can eat after heating up in the microwave. For example, you can explore black market meal prep businesses and other competitors for a better idea.

Who is this Business for?

Anybody with a passion for food can start this business. But, you can’t achieve business success, if you are not interested in food. That means you must peep within yourself and see if you have a passion for food, you like cooking, and you are dedicated to it. More than opportunities, your zest will play a pivotal role to start this business.

More than that, as we have already mentioned in the introductory paragraph, if you are a chef and want to start your own meal preparation business, then this could be the best opportunity for you.

Who can be Your Potential Buyers?

  • First, your target customers would be the people who desire to lose weight and gain muscle mass.
  • Second, you can attract people who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but don’t have sufficient time to cook healthy food for themselves.
  • Third, which is similar to the second one with a little difference, it involves the people who do not wish to cook but want to have a healthy diet in their daily intake.

Top brands like Hello Fresh target urban families and professionals who hardly get time and resources to cook and eat healthy food.

Where should You Start your Business?

Location is the most important thing to look at before starting a meal prep business. You are supposed to get customers in urban areas. You can explore sites in urban areas with lots of corporate offices. They can be your potential customers as they are the people who don’t have much time to take care of their health.

Now, let’s come to the core point;

Things to Consider before Starting a Meal Prep Business

So, are you going to start the meal kit delivery business based on your idea? Don’t do it. You may fail. Even if you are starting a small meal delivery business, make sure you are prepared to make it successful. It is better to follow the process, prepare the ground and start a business.

Here are some steps which you need to follow to make your business successful. So, here we go;

Decide what Types of Meal Prep Business to begin with — Business Niche

It’s good that you want to start a food prep business, but have you decided on your niche? To determine the niche, you can explore your competitors like HelloFresh or Blue Apron and Purple Carrot. HelloFresh and Blue Apron offer multiple meal options, such as

  • Uncooked yet prepared meal ingredients
  • Pre-made and fresh meal
  • Meal prep workshop

In the first option, you need to deliver raw yet prepared meal ingredients (in perfect portions) to the customers with easy-to-follow cooking instructions. Customers will prepare the food themselves.

In the second option, you prepare the meal and deliver it along with salads and soups. The customer will heat the food in the microwave and eat.

The third option ‘meal preparation workshop’ offers customers space along with prepared food ingredients. Customers will use your space, cook the food and take it home to eat.

Besides, you can also consider providing vegan or vegetarian meal options to customers, like Purple Carrot. You can explore many such options by exploring through your competitors. Meanwhile, you can also analyze the taste of the people in particular locations. Explore what types of food they like to have in their daily meal option.

Prepare an Executable Meal Prep Business Plan

Once you have decided the niche, you should prepare a well-guided business plan. If you have a well-researched business plan, it will help you make better decisions while letting you determine what you plan to do and how you plan to do. There are many components of a business plan which you can explore online or connect with industry experts to help you prepare.

You can explore the sites that offer business plan templates or go through the similar business type. For example, you can explore a grocery delivery business plan, or others alike make adequate documentation.

An effective business plan helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses and helps you do away with all issues you come across. More than that, it enables you to grab fundings easily and woo angel investors with lucrative meal prep business proposals.

Acquire License, Permits and Insurance

Whether you want to start a meal prep delivery business or others, it must be legally compliant. For that, you need to grab license, permits and insurance to run your business uninterrupted. If you are not legally sound, you can take the support of a legal advisor to avoid unnecessary delay in completing paperwork or spending unnecessary money. Basically, you can go through the local business guidelines as well as compliance with the federal government regulation.

You can also check with resources provided by the SBA to get started and even the local chamber of commerce if there is any specific requirement to meet to start the business. As your business includes multiple segments, you may need the following licenses;

  • Sales privilege license
  • Food handler’s license
  • Catering license
  • Health department permits
  • Zoning permits

Besides, if you need staff to support your business, you also need to obtain employee identification number (EIN) to various benefits offered by the government, including tax benefits. You may also need insurance to protect your business and employees.

Ensure you have got the permit early on so that you may not have to face any further hindrances in terms of legal compliance.

Read more: How to Create a Restaurant App?

Prepare Meal Prep Strategies

We have discussed marketing strategies in the paragraph below, though you need to prepare meal prep strategies as well. Here are some of the tips which you can apply to make the best strategies;

  • Understand your buyers
  • Solve their pain points

In your business plan, you will have this section to mention. So, when you know your buyers, you know their pain points, and that makes your job easy. Besides, you have your marketing strategies in place, and you need to act accordingly.

Prepare Marketing and Meal Selling Plan

There could be many ways to plan how to sell meals. It could be offline as well as online meal prep business. However, you can set accurate meal prep selling based on your business niche. If you want to expand your business on a national level and deliver meals directly to hungry homes, then you definitely need to plan it. For example;

You need to market your business: And, the best way to start marketing your business is to decide whether you want to go with;

  • Traditional marketing
  • Digital marketing

Traditional marketing is a good step, but it is not so effective as digital marketing. As we are going through the smart innovation era, technology can play an integral role while traditional marketing may be a costly affair as well as provide limited reach and consume considerable time.

So, adapting digital marketing seems to be getting an edge over traditional marketing.

We don’t want advice to stop traditional marketing as it could be helpful to some extent if you have localized business, but take help of digital marketing as well. You may reap the benefits of both. However, whether to stop it or not is totally your call.

Digital marketing is crucial for any business today. With the world’s half of the population using smartphones, creating digital marketing strategies can make a huge difference.

So, you should market your business using digital resources and channels. If you are not an expert in digital marketing, you need to be the one.

Even if your company hasn’t started functioning, it’s never too early to market your business. Prepare a marketing plan and start brandishing by informing customers what value your meal will offer to them.

How Digitization Adds Extra Benefits to Your Business

Digitization is boon for a meal prep startups. You can utilize digital marketing traits to profit your business in many ways. For example;

  • Social Networking Sites: Keeps your business active across social media channels and enhances your online presence.
  • Content Marketing: Helps you create brand awareness increases reliability.
  • SEO: Customers can easily find your business when they search across search engines like Google, Bing, Yandex, DuckDuckGo and more.
  • Ad: Through advertising, you can promote your business to reach whosoever are interested to use your meal.

Now, the next important things you need to utilize the digitization offerings are to develop web and mobile apps.

You need to develop web and mobile apps to boost sales and reach a larger audience. And, it’s an excellent digital marketing step too.

You can create a portal for various reasons. It will connect your team together, help you market your business. For example, you can start blogging, social media engagement to increase your customer base. Your customers can place orders right from your application and get their meal delivered at home.

Meal delivery application, on the other hand, will empower your customers to utilize your services conveniently and efficiently. At the same time, you can connect with customers —as all may have smartphones.

If you don’t want to begin with a storefront, you can consider starting a meal prep delivery business from home and get the help of digitization. With the help of meal prep mobile app and custom software development, you start selling goods and services online and handle everything from the comfort of your home.

However, the next biggest question you would come across is whether to develop an app from scratch, create MVP or go with Clone.

App from scratch refers to the enterprise-level application with all features and functionalities.

MVP refers to the app with core features and functionality.

Clone refers to a readymade solution with custom features and functionalities.

Let us tell you a straightforward answer: If you are budget-friendly, you can consider going with an enterprise-level app or even with MVP (if you want to experiment with your business). They will consume time as well as cost.

If you are a startup and if budget is an issue, or if you are looking for a reliable and dedicated meal prep delivery app for your business, then you can consider moving ahead with the Food Delivery Clone app. As it comes enabled with remarkable benefits at a lower price.

One of the best benefits you will get with a clone is that you will get it delivered right in your deadline. The app can be customized as your business needs and provide personalized services as well.

Know more: The Best Food Delivery App Development Company

Challenges You May Face while Starting a Meal Prep Delivery Services

No business is there without challenges. The meal prep delivery business is no exception to that. Even though this business has fewer challenges as compared to other businesses, you can overcome those challenges with proper planning and management.

One of the biggest challenges you face in this business is logistic management, both inside and outside of the kitchen. However, if you have a logistic management app in place or you have developed an app to manage your entire business process, then you have nothing to worry about.

The second challenge you may have to face in this business is to keep your customers interested in having healthy diets. That’s not the job of yours alone, but you can keep promoting healthy diets. It will help you clients remain motivated to maintain a healthy eating habit as it is seen that customers get bored after having the same dish for several days. You can plan something so that they would remain interested in having a healthy diet. For example, you keep sending newsletters containing health information and the benefits of eating healthy.

At the same time, you can also make a little change in the recipe so that customers would enjoy a different taste.

How much does It Cost to Start Meal Prep Business?

The cost to start your meal prep business will depend on how you wish to start your business. If it is limited to a particular locality, then the price to start a meal preparation business would be less. However, if you have a broader perspective and have a dream of a nationwide empire, then the cost would be as high as you want.

You need to spend around $8,000 – $10,000 on building a kitchen while if you want to develop an app for your business, then you may have to spend between $15,000 to $50,000 —based on your requirements.

Apart from kitchen and Meal Prep Mobile application, there may be some additional costs, such as developing a web portal, marketing and more.

But, if you choose to start small, you may have to spend a little amount of money on building kitchen and kitchen equipment.

Besides, you can also plan to start the business from home so that you may not have to spend hefty upfront costs.
Cost to Start Meal Prep Business

Final Thoughts

Starting any business requires dedication more than planning. If you are dedicated, you can begin it, irrespective of the circumstances. Initially, you can consider starting the business from home. As far as making your business successful is concerned, you need to follow the steps with effective planning. Rest assured that if you cook delicious meals, success is waiting for next door.

Meanwhile, we are industry-savvy people, and we are dedicated to supporting startups and entrepreneurs with all their business needs, whether it is planning your business or developing mobile applications, we can be an excellent supporting hand when you look for how to start a meal prep business. Let’s connect for more details.


Is meal prep a good business?

Yes, if you are passionate about cooking and love helping others, then it’s a good business.

How much should I charge for meal prepping?

The charges should be decided based on the total expense on meal preparation. Charges can differ depending on the region and the cost of commodities.

How do I start a meal prep business from home?

You can start a meal preparation business from home, though you need to ensure that you have ample amounts of customers to buy meals nearby.

How much does a meal prep business make?

Revenue of HelloFresh is 1.8 billion Euros while Blue Apron’s revenue was around 455 million U.S. dollars in 2019. However, it will be premature to say how much you will make out of this meal prep business.

Mayur Panchal
Mayur Panchal is the CTO of aPurple. He is passionate about tech trends, clone apps, on-demand app solutions, and innovations across various domains. He loves to share his expertise through engaging content and inspiring others to discover the future of the IT world.

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