The Demise of Freshly And What We Should Learn From It

[image courtesy of the Food Institute].

It came fast—the mass layoffs and, a month later, the wind-down. I’m talking about Freshly, one of the wunderkinds of the now-troubled DTC sector. Here’s a teaser based on my piece in the Food Institute. 

Freshly tried to command a premium based entirely on a nutritional halo and the trendiness of being gluten-free (one of the most consistent, short-term diets Americans use yearly). This was not sustainable for the lunchtime price they offered. The growth was not sustainable, at least without relaxing meal pricing down to levels that allowed it to compete with microwave frozen lunches (which they aren’t that dissimilar from). 

And the meals were too low involvement and dull for a satisfying dinner (when you are not on a strict diet).

When you don’t have a laser focus on your competitive set, you can’t set the 4Ps appropriately to scale and survive. This is my take-away at least.

“Know your real competitive set, not the narrow one you think you compete in.”
For my complete thoughts on Freshly, visit the Food Institute.

Dr. James Richardson

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