It seems Instagram-driven grocery pop-ups are all over New York right now. Earlier this month we checked out the snack shopping experience at Pop Up Grocer in SoHo. Now, Hungryroot, the grocery e-commerce platform, debuts its first-ever IRL retail location, and the first-of-its-kind direct-to-consumer grocery pop-up. Though Flatiron has no shortage of groceries (and a nearby Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Eataly) the vegan-friendly online produce shop hopes to attract office workers in the area with plant-based offerings. The pop-up runs now until June 28.
Online, Hungryroot only offers subscription-based services, a model that’s increasingly prevalent amongst meal kit and other delivery food services: a small order, 11 items costs $69; Medium, 16 items is $99; Large, 21 items, costs $129. You’re locked into the bundle deal, though you can cancel at anytime. And while it ain’t cheap, it competes with other online grocers such as Peapod, Instacart and Fresh Direct’s FoodKick (which markets itself as the more millennial-friendly arm) with similar pricing. According to a recent poll from Morning Consult, which surveyed 2,191 adults, only nine percent said they stayed on with their food delivery subscription for half a year or more. Subscription services are waning, perhaps why Hungryroot wants to try a different model.
At their first retail location, Hungyroot sells items individually for the first time. That might not be enough to differentiate itself from its competitors, so their focus goes toward fun branding. The vivid violet, turquoise, magenta and chartreuse Hungryroot private label products fill the shelves: there’s plantain noodles, red lentil pasta, artichoke dip, cashew cheese and their vegan black bean “cookie dough” and other pantry staples, that invigorate the healthy food category. The space is beautiful, but almost so well-curated and neat that it feels dystopic.