It seems that the concept of meal kits was a good one – but the industry that once was the darling of VC dollars, raising more than $650 million, seems to be sputtering and may be on its last legs.
The latest trend has been for retailers to acquire these companies and rather than shipping the goods to customers homes, offer them in store for a lot less and without the overwhelming amount of packaging.
Now, another blow comes to the industry in a report from UC Berkley’s Center for Labor Research and Education which found that the workers filling boxes with pre-portioned ingredients and recipe cards are struggling with low wages, unaffordable benefits, unpredictable schedules, inconsistent wage increase policies, risk of injuries, and recurrent problems with timely payment.
In the new report, “Job Quality in a Meal-Kit Fulfillment Center,” the UC Berkeley researchers conducted confidential interviews and focus groups with frontline workers who assemble and pack boxes in one refrigerated fulfillment center in California. The researchers gathered in-depth accounts of the quality of the jobs created by the tech food revolution.
Key findings include:
Most workers said that they did not plan on working at the meal-kit fulfillment center in the long-term because of low job quality and lack of advancement opportunities.