/// New Crop of Online Food Services Offer Everything but the Chef
Last week, some FreshDirect customers found themselves in a mild panic when the online grocery service suffered a two-day outage due to a renewal issue with the company’s Web domain name . What was a small glitch for FreshDirect might have been a prime opportunity for the newest crop of food delivery services — companies that don’t don’t deliver groceries, but instead ship boxes of pre-prepared recipe ingredients that aim to make even the busiest professionals or harried parents look like food stars. “We want to be your sous chef,” says Simon Schmincke, chief marketing officer at HelloFresh , which is headquartered in Berlin and recently started serving parts of the U.S. “It’s a subscription model, so you don’t have to order groceries every week.” These types of formulated meal services, like HelloFresh and Sweden-based Linas Matkasse, have been popular in parts of Europe for several years. Now they’re making their way Stateside — and showing early signs of success. Earlier this month, HelloFresh secured $10 million in funding . Another fledgling service, Blue Apron, recently nabbed $800,000 in seed funding from a group that includes the founders of Seamless and Yipit. Here’s how it works: Consumers sign up for weekly food-ordering options, which usually don’t exceed three prepared meals per week. The services then send subscribers an email a week ahead of time with some recipe options.