The concept is simple, fun—and lucrative, for the e-commerce company who came up with it. Hangry Kits are just what they sound like: kits packed with snacks that you can send to friends. They’re care packages for whoever is feeling “hangry” in your life.
The business started out as an even simpler enterprise in 2011 when Reuben Schroeder founded it. Initially, he simply sold individual food products off of his website.
“We’ve been selling food online for a while now,” says Reuben. “It wasn’t super popular at first, because people didn’t trust it. That changed in 2013.”
At that point, the e-commerce landscape became more populated and competitive. But in 2016, Hangry Kits found a way to differentiate: bundles.
“Before, we were selling stuff like a box of protein bars. But when we started bundling different foods into our care packages, we started generating a better bottom line.”
The newly christened “Hangry Kits” (the company was formerly known by its parent company name, Free Shipping Tigers) were a hit right off the bat. Reuben freely admits that they “weren’t ready for that” and it was a challenge to meet demand.
In an e-commerce outfit like Hangry Kits, labour time is the hardest factor to manage. Reuben’s staff are sometimes building kits with as many as 30 different items. “When you think about one kit, that might involve opening 30 boxes,” says Reuben. “And then there’s a ton of recycling to deal with. We’ve had to invest in balers to take all of these boxes to the recycling centre.”
As Hangry Kits worked out the kinks in its model, there were some fun developments along the way. For Reuben, who grew up watching The Price Is Right, getting a call from that storied game show was definitely a thrill. The show ended up featuring Hangry Kits four times.
The pandemic changed Hangry Kits, like it did virtually every other business under the sun. The company formerly sold a lot of kits to people buying them for college students. When classes went online, that market virtually disappeared. But, fortunately, another market was waiting: employers who wanted to send kits to employees working from home.
Overall, business is still strong. “We’re very fortunate that we’re not a business that’s been really hurt by the pandemic,” says Reuben. “Online, in general, is doing well.”
The Hangry Kit mimics a first aid kit, so nailing the box was central to delivering a fun experience to recipients. But when they first started making the kits, Reuben says that he was “coming from a place of not knowing anything” about packaging. Hangry Kits started out with one other packaging supplier before moving onto Great Little Box Company (GLBC).
“With our old supplier, I felt like we were too small and asked too many questions,” laughs Reuben. “But GLBC totally got me up to speed. GLBC taught us about why you did certain things, about cost structure, about a lot of things that are so helpful for me to know as I’m developing products.”
In the future—when business is presumably more stable, if not “the way it used to be”—Hangry Kits hopes to pursue projects that the pandemic put on the backburner. That includes more retail.
“Our big push this year was going to be getting a kit in places like gift shops and grocery stores,” says Reuben. “We had a box fully built out but the retail staff who were supposed to be evaluating it and buying it are furloughed at home now.”
It’s hard to anticipate what’s around the corner, but we look forward to working alongside Hangry Kits for the long haul. We’re living through strange days—what better time to send a care package to someone you love?