Australia markets open in 50 minutes

Coles takes on HelloFresh with $4.15 supermarket war manoeuvre

Coles latest foray into the supermarket war sees it take aim squarely at meal-delivery services. Images: Getty

As anyone who cooks regularly will know, the time spent preparing the meal isn’t the hardest part - deciding what’s healthy, cheap, quick and something you actually want to eat for dinner is the tricky part.

Time-poor Australians have presented the perfect market for companies like HelloFresh and Marley Spoon which deliver the ingredients to home-cooks’ doors, with the recipes in tow.

Now, supermarket giant Coles is attempting to wrestle some of the power away. Following moves into convenience meals that can be picked up at the stores, Coles has launched its ‘What’s for Dinner’ platform.

The service, which exists on the Coles website, promises to share meals that can be made with five ingredients or less in under 30 minutes.

Shoppers can trawl through the recipes, pick the ones they like and then add the ingredients to their shopping list, or online order.

Coles chief marketing officer Lisa Ronson said ‘What’s for Dinner’ is about getting customers into the kitchen and simplifying life.

“This year, we undertook one of the biggest customer studies ever conducted into the dinner time habits of Australians to really understand customer pain points and how we can help them through great value food solutions,” Ronson said.

“We have created meal plans to help customers with some of the biggest challenges they face preparing dinner every night – from lack of time to cook from scratch to kids who turn their nose up at healthy options, and boredom with cooking the same handful of dishes every week because it seems too hard to try something new.”

Last month Woolworths increased its stake in meal kit company Marley Spoon to nearly 10 per cent.

What should I have for dinner?

According to the Coles’ research, 55 per cent of Australians only decide what they want to eat for dinner on that day, with 94 per cent eating dinner.

And, 60 per cent prepare meals in less than 30 minutes, while 66 per cent of people eat before 7pm.

One-third of Australians use short cuts in the kitchen.

But the biggest pain point when cooking dinner was preparing the ingredients, followed by worrying about the time it took to cook and if the meal has been prepared correctly.

$4.15 meals

‘What’s for Dinner’ includes 48 recipes, with prices ranging from $4.15 a serve for ‘Mince-it Monday’, which includes Cook with Curtis Mexican Recipe beef mince, taco shells, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and tomato salsa.

It also includes meat-free options, like chicken-free schnitzel with slaw ($6.75 per serve).

This latest campaign comes as Coles rolls-out Costco-sized giant packs to appeal to budget-conscious families, including items like rice, baby food, olive oil and coffee.

At the other end of the spectrum, Coles has launched its ready-meal strategy, offering 75 ready-to-eat options like smashed avocado on toast and Mexican-style bean salsa and eggs.

"We see the convenience market as being an opportunity to grow another billion in sales over the next five years," Coles managing director Steven Cain told The Australian Financial Review.

"It's high growth and it mainly happens outside supermarkets at the moment.”

Make your money work with Yahoo Finance’s daily newsletter. Sign up here and stay on top of the latest money, news and tech news.