The goal was for Amazon to be known for more than just online shopping convenience and to gain customers' trust in fresh and delicious food offerings. We aimed to convert our lunchtime customers into dinner-time customers by enticing them to pick up a meal kit for dinner along with their sandwich.
The objective also involved developing brands and products to fulfill our customers' constant need for meal solutions.
The challenge was working around early Just Walk Out Technology limitations. Our solution had to be compatible with this technology.
The Team: Aaron N. (Design Director), Ashley A. (Creative Director), Herman C. (Industrial Designer), Gordon M. (Design Technologist), Rouzbeh A. (Program Manager), Ashley S. (Program Manager), Shannon Q. (Principal Product Manager), Katie H. (Researcher), Engineers, Machine Learning Scientist, Store Ops.
My Role: Designer working on brand identity, systems design, product, packaging, digital, and environmental design with hard technological constraints, all aimed at creating a human-centered solution.
By creating a meal kit program centered around easy-to-follow, multicultural, chef-designed dinners for two, from scratch.
Initial data points & requirements
Dinner is typically prepared at home 4 to 5 nights per week.
Our target customer is the Up & Comer trying to do it all, these ambitious families balance time and money.
An aruko code is required on each meal kit, ideally, the same Amazon Go tag on the rest of the HMR products.
Customers face the daily challenge of solving what's for dinner.
Meal Planning: Customers don't always have mind space or time to create tasty combinations based on the ingredients they have on hand in their fridge or pantry.
Grocery Shopping: According to the Time Use Institute, the average shopping trip takes 41 minutes.
Meal Prep: Ingredient prep allows customers to see what goes into a meal, but the time can vary based on # of ingredients in the recipe, amount of chopping, pre-marinating, etc.
Cooking the meal: Cooking a meal can also vary from 10 minutes pasta to 20-minute pizza bakes and 1 hour to roast a chicken.
Amazon is launching a new product offering, Meal Kits, to solve each of the pain points above. These products will be targeted at customers who have busy lives, feel time-starved, and want an effortless, delicious meal for their family with fresh ingredients.
After workshops and program reviews, the team created concepts to test out. Each one would lean into a different pillar:
Five different meal kit mockups acted as wireframes with enough information and thought behind them to provide us with good insights but not biasing one over the other. The desired outcome was to understand how much detailed information customers wanted to read, type of visuals, level of food preparation involved, ingredient quantity, time from start to finish, price, and value perception.
Healthy and Tasty
52% said I want meals that are healthy AND tasty, a balance of both.
38% said I want meals that everyone in my family likes and eats.
33% said I want meals that mix things up but I still want to be confident in them.
15% said I want weeknight dinners to be easy and stress-free.
Success criteria for dinner
Across life stage and type of night, consumers are using these four key criteria to evaluate how successful dinner is. Meal solutions must address one or more of these.
Healthy and tasty is the most important and aspirational to everyone, all solutions considered should help customers meet this criteria.
Creating concepts for testing
Customers want to start and finish meals in about 30 minutes since they would cook the most during the week. 1 hour is a non-starter.
Not including salt, pepper, olive oil.
Customers said they wanted to prepare some of the ingredients for freshness and quality. Some involvement would make people immerse in the process of cooking.
Keeping steps easy to follow, clearly marked for following along and no on-sense resonated the most with customers. Visual help!
Customers would be comfortable paying about $9 per meal.
Customers want the freshest ingredients possible and felt kraft achieved that best.
“Love it! the packaging is beautiful and interesting. The experience of opening was fun. Inside packaging and ingredients, so fresh, looks healthy, organized. I asked my husband to bring these twice a week to help reduce the stress of cooking"
customer with ID A363zQH4GKHS0P
"Let me emphasize that the packaging and presentation of the Amazon meal kit was probably the most impressive part of the whole experience. I liked that all the food was packed tightly in a well-designed box. Contrast this with Blue Apron, where ingredients are, for the most part, packed loose in the big insulation bags."
"The packaging was neat.... The brown boxes were packed neatly. John’s neighbor Meredith, a long-time user of Blue Apron and Sun Basket, liked how the boxes could easily fit into the refrigerator."
I understood a lot about codes and our technology from previous projects, so I knew Amazon's meal kits could be different. They didn't need to be made on the hour because ingredients would not change last minute since all ingredients would be sourced and planned for. Meal kits also need delicious cues, which meant food photography.
I wondered if a QR code would translate within a confined space from a photo composition with color and negative space. A solution we had to test out.
Tech validation mockups
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Designed proof-of-concept meal kits
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Boxes were used for data collection
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Designs passed tech needs
Introducing Amazon Meal Kits, which gives you everything you need to create a delicious dinner for 2 in about 30 minutes.
Each meal kit comes with a chef design recipe and pre-prepped, pre-portioned fresh ingredients that enable you to cook dinner for 2 in about 30 minutes.
Amazon Meal Kits will provide you with a wide range of options to choose from either in-store or online. Open the fridge and just start cooking.
Priced from: $15.99 - 19.99.
"I want to prepare a healthy meal for my family and it's important to me to cook with fresh ingredients. I work a full-time job so during the week, I don't have time to look for recipes, go to the store, and prep ingredients."
We launched Amazon Meal Kits in Amazon Go with positive reception from customers. When Amazon acquired Whole Foods we needed to scale the production of Meal Kits. I created guidelines for everything from the recipe card to detailed food photography for all marketing needs.
Introduced Amazon Meal Kits to Whole Foods.
Made all meal kits Alexa enabled. This required video steps in addition to photography.
Amazon Meal Kits paved the way to leading the brand and design for Amazon Kitchen at its inception.
Product, Computer Vision, Branding
Making Everyone a Chef
How Might We
Make dinner delicious and easy to plan for while educating customers of all cooking skill levels?
The templated play book approach was used to make over 200 Meal Kits including modified recipes.
Production of meal kits from start to finish was reduced to just 3 weeks from the typical 5 weeks. This included Alexa Video.
Amazon created an entire business department to support fresh food initiatives based on initial production learnings.