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The HelloFresh meal kit delivery company has seen its customer base increase dramatically as it continues to benefit from the online food ordering trend seen during the pandemic.

It said it had 7.3 million active users worldwide in the first three months of 2021, up 74.2% from the previous year.

Its kits come with fresh, prepackaged ingredients and cooking instructions.

But it has been criticized for delivery delays as it struggled to keep up with demand.

HelloFresh said he was “confident” that he would continue to benefit from the switch to online grocery shopping.

The German company, which operates across Europe, the United States and New Zealand, said it was seeing a similar increase in demand that food delivery services and supermarkets saw during the pandemic. coronavirus.

Revenue for the January-March period more than doubled from the previous year to € 1.44 billion (£ 1.25 billion).

The firm said that just as consumers “adjusted to new habits” such as online shopping, they became more interested in using meal kits, rather than buying separate ingredients in the store. supermarkets.

One of its competitors in the UK market, Pasta Evangelists, estimated that its sales increased by more than 300% in 2020.

“2021 is off to a good start,” said Dominik Richter, co-founder and CEO of HelloFresh.

“I am confident that we will disproportionately benefit from the shift to increased penetration of online grocery shopping.”

Mr Richter said the company has continued to grow despite bottlenecks in its ability to produce meal kits “over the majority of 2020”, particularly in its US market, which currently contributes more than half of its total income.

Last year, customers reported issues including last-minute canceled orders, missing boxes and missing ingredients in their boxes as the company struggled to keep up with demand.

Since January, the company has set up two new distribution centers in Texas and Georgia, as well as the acquisition of the American ready-meals company Factor75.

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