• Recipe Guru Team

How to engage the last-minute meal planner

Did you know that meal planning wasn't really a thing for the majority of people pre-pandemic? Over half of people didn't decide what to have for dinner that night until lunchtime and one-third were still deciding by 4 pm at the earliest. 77% of millennial parents were looking up recipes in the supermarket rather than researching and planning before leaving the house. The truth is that meal planning is hard. 52% of people say that deciding what to have for dinner is the hardest part of the cooking process, while 40% struggle to create a varied meal plan.


While the pandemic has forced many of us to jump on board the meal planning train, this will not last forever and people will inevitably fall back into their old habits of picking up dinner on the way home or foraging in their refrigerators for inspiration at dinnertime. For these last-minute meal planners, inspiration and convenience are key. In this blog post, we're sharing three strategies that can solve the issues of inspiration and convenience for last-minute meal planners.

66% say the inspiration stage is influential when deciding what to buy - Pinterest

Put the right recipe in front of the right person at the right time

Last-minute meal planners don't have the time or inclination to trawl through recipe websites looking for fresh inspiration. For food brands, grocery retailers and recipe websites hoping to grab the attention and loyalty of this cohort, the focus should be on putting the right recipe in front of the right person at the right time. What does this mean in practice? If half of consumers are not deciding what to have for dinner until lunchtime, you should take this into account when planning your social media and email marketing strategy. Ideally, you want quick and simple recipe content to land in the consumer's inbox and on their social media feeds just before they make their decision. Surveying your mailing list leads to find out how and when they plan their meals and using this data to segment this list will enable you to create more focused email campaigns to send to the consumers who need last-minute inspiration the most. It is equally important to make data-lead decisions about your social media marketing strategy. By analyzing click-throughs to recipes from social media and conversion rates on your shoppable recipes, you can build a social media campaign that targets those who are in search of last-minute inspiration right when they need it.

Make your recipes shoppable both in-store and online

Source: BBC Good Food


Shoppable recipes continue to gain traction as more and more brands jump on board with the concept. The focus has been on making online recipes shoppable but this is also an option in-store. You only need to look at the enormous success of meal kits over the past year to understand why shoppable recipes are a great option for last-minute meal planners. Meal kits provide the convenience of getting all the ingredients you need delivered to your door but they don't suit last-minute meal planners because they need to be planned in advance. Shoppable recipes also provide the convenience of bundling all the required ingredients together, but for last-minute meal planners they don't necessarily need to be planned in advance. For those who prefer to grab tonight's dinner from the supermarket on the way home from work (or the 77% of millennials with children who look up recipes in-store) creating an in-store display that includes all the ingredients required to make a particular recipe and adding a recipe card or recipe QR code is a strategy that can not only increase basket value but will also help build a reputation for convenience amongst last-minute meal planners. Shoppable recipes online can also help, but the success of this strategy depends on how quickly online grocery orders can be fulfilled.

Invest in 30-minute grocery pickup

In the online grocery space, grocery pickup has been the real success story of the last year, representing 50% of online grocery sales in February 2021. For last-minute meal planners, the inconvenience of driving to the supermarket, browsing the aisles and going through the checkout process might just be enough to push them towards takeout. By offering 30-minute online grocery pickup, not only are supermarkets making a trip to the grocery store much more efficient for consumers, but they're also giving last-minute meal planners a reason to visit a grocery retailer's website which creates opportunities to upsell. 30-minute or one-hour grocery delivery is also a good option here, but since grocery pickup is generally much more cost-effective for consumers, it's the logical place to start.


62% of us now cook more meals from scratch than in 2019 and even those of us who create a weekly meal plan can become last-minute meal planners at some point. The key to attracting the spending power of these people and those who plan meals day-to-day as a rule is making the process as convenient as possible. This will become particularly important as life begins to go back to normal after the pandemic, so putting strategies in place to solve this issue now will pay dividends into the future.




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