Mark Bittman departs Purple Carrot after less than a year

 Mark Bittman

Mark Bittman made waves last year when he made two big announcements: first, that he was stepping down from his position at The NY Times, and then a few months later, that he was joining forces with vegan meal-kit delivery service Purple Carrot. Now, less than a year after he started, he is no longer working for the company.

He is retaining an ownership stake in Purple Carrot, but he’s not an employee. In a phone conversation with Tom Philpott of Mother Jones, he was circumspect about his departure: “I wish the company nothing but the best,” he said. “I did everything I could do to help [with its recent West Coast expansion], and now I’m ready for something new.” Bittman told Philpott that he’s still deciding what to do next.

The future for meal-kit delivery services is unclear. Venture capital firms have invested boatloads of cash into several startups like Purple Carrot, which sets itself apart by delivery vegan meals. Brita Rosenheim, founder of a consulting firm focused on food-related tech companies, reports that nearly half a billion dollars were invested in meal-kit companies in 2015. But few – if any – of these companies have turned a profit so far.

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  • Laura  on  May 12, 2016

    We actually tried Purple Carrot for a brief time. We found that most of the meals contained way more carbs than we want in our diet — lots of breads and pasta. We were also turned off by the amount of packaging materials — it took as much time to sort the packing materials into recycling and trash as it did to cook the meal!

  • Jane  on  May 12, 2016

    The amount of packaging materials is also the reason that a friend stopped her Purple Carrot subscription. I don't know how they get around that when they are supplying all the ingredients portioned for the recipe.

  • adamsj4  on  May 16, 2016

    I tried it and liked the recipes, but they have not ironed out the kinks with their distribution model. For 2 weeks straight, we received wilted, droopy unusable produce that had to be replaced to make the dinner. So, good idea and good recipes, but they need to work out their distribution/packaging. We stopped after 2 weeks.

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