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The New York Times has a story about how, "in the span of a few short years, more than 100 companies have jumped into the meal kit game. Millions of cardboard boxes arrive on urban and rural doorsteps every month, holding everything one needs to cook dinner, down to the rice wine vinegar and panko.

"Ingredients are packaged in exact proportions, ready to be chopped or sautéed according to well-illustrated recipe cards. In less than an hour, even a mediocre cook with salt, pepper and cooking oil can produce an Instagram-worthy meal."

The story notes that Technomic predicts "that at the current rate of adoption, the United States meal kit market could grow by as much as $5 billion over the next decade," and that one of the companies involved, Blue Apron, claims to be shipping eight million meals a month. The Times reports that "grocery stores are trying to figure out how to get in the game, and although there are three big meal kit players on the national scene, the regional variations are, by some estimates, more than 100 and growing, each seeming more specialized than the one before."

However, the Times writes, "Some analysts say meal kits show classic signs of a bubble that may already be leaking air. They make comparisons to the rise and fall of the grocery delivery service Webvan in the first wave of the tech boom, or meal assembly storefronts, where cooks pick recipes online and then show up to put together what are essentially fancy casseroles from precut ingredients. Such companies once opened at a rate of 40 a month in the early 2000s but have faded from view.

"Others say this is different. Like frozen foods or the microwave oven, meal kits may be a kitchen innovation that fundamentally changes how people cook at home."
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