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Stand-out subscription loyalty programs in the food and beverage industry (and what they have in common)

In the food and beverage industry, brands are constantly seeking innovative ways to capture and retain the attention of their customers. Up to 10% of customers cancel subscriptions to food and beverage brands every month, so keeping customers from churning is a huge challenge for the industry as a whole. 

One strategy that has been increasingly popular when it comes to transforming customer relationships is the use of subscription loyalty programs. These programs offer not only a unique approach to customer engagement, but also a sense of belonging and exclusivity. As we delve into this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most well-known subscription loyalty programs in the food and beverage sector, uncovering the common elements that contribute to their success.


HelloFresh: A recipe for success

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HelloFresh is known for its meal kit deliveries. At its core, the program is built on the foundation of convenience. Subscribers receive pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes right at their doorstep, eliminating the hassles of meal planning and grocery shopping. But what is it that keeps customers from churning? 

As you can see from the screenshot above, HelloFresh offer their customers enticing benefits for their continued business, including 25% off the next 2 months as well as 3 free gifts. They also give their repeat customers free shipping which, as we know from our recent data, is a simple but highly effective perk. 

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Another reason why HelloFresh remains so successful is their referral program, where customers are rewarded with money off their next order whenever a friend uses their code. As you can see from the example above, they make it as easy as possible for customers to refer friends and family at the click of a button. 


Blue Bottle Coffee: Brewing up loyalty

Blue Bottle Coffee has brewed up a subscription loyalty program that resonates with coffee enthusiasts worldwide. Subscribers receive carefully selected, artisanal ground coffee that promised a premium coffee experience.

Customization and flexibility are the key ingredients to Blue Bottle Coffee’s success. Firstly, customers can tailor their coffee subscriptions to their taste preferences, from roast level to grind size. This ensures that every cup of coffee feels tailor-made and extra-personalized, enhancing the overall customer experience.

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But flexibility is the real key here. Subscribers can adjust their delivery frequency or skip deliveries entirely if they’re away, have enough already or simply don’t feel like spending the money. By giving their customers the flexibility to skip deliveries, Blue Bottle Coffee will retain customers who otherwise would have cancelled their subscriptions if this option wasn’t available.

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Tea Runners: Loyal-tea never tasted so good 

Tea Runners is a subscription-based tea service that caters to tea enthusiasts and anyone looking to explore a variety of premium teas. Some of the key features that keep Tea Runners’ customers from churning include:

Fully customizable boxes – every delivery feels personalized
Free shipping – non-subscribers have to spend $49 to unlock this 
Flexibility – you can order your boxes to be delivered monthly, bi-monthly, or even tri-monthly 

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The service that customers receive feels premium and exclusive, with each delivery including detailed information about the teas, including their origin, processing methods, tasting notes, and brewing instructions. This educational aspect enhances the sense of community, and subscribers really feel that they are ‘part of something’. 

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Common elements of success in food and beverage subscription loyalty programs

While each of the subscription loyalty programs we’ve looked at offers a unique experience, they share several common elements that contribute to their effectiveness:

Convenience: They make life easier for their customers.
Personalization: They tailor their offerings to individual preferences.
Flexibility: They allow customers to adapt their subscriptions as needed.
Data utilization: They use customer data to improve the experience.
Communication and engagement: They maintain regular communication with their subscribers.


How LoyaltyLion can elevate your food and beverage brand 

Provide exclusive rewards to keep members engaged

The novelty of receiving a specific item/service every month can quickly disappear, especially when it’s a recurring cost for customers to justify. With LoyaltyLion, you can create subscriber tiers in your loyalty program that offer exclusive rewards (beyond just discounts) to keep customers engaged for longer. Think experiential rewards like being the first to try a new product or being invited to a community event. 


Reduce your reliance on discounting 

Many food and beverage brands fall into the trap of using regular discounts to retain their customers. With LoyaltyLion, you no longer need to dangle discounts every week. Offer perks to your subscribers like free shipping or free product rewards (a great way to shift excess inventory) so that they feel like VIPs and are incentivized to keep subscribing. 


Drive more revenue from your subscribers

Your subscribers are a unique segment of your customer base. They are far more likely to be opted in and engaged than your average customer, and with LoyaltyLion you can use this opportunity to generate extra revenue. 

Ensure that within the first three months of someone subscribing, you let them know that they could unlock points in exchange for a review. This is when they are likely to be most excited about receiving your product, so it’s the optimal time to request user generated content. This is also the best time to incentivize a subscriber to refer a friend or family member. They increase their points balance and benefit from a reward sooner, and you acquire a new customer at a lower cost – win win. 


Final thoughts 

​​For ecommerce brands in the food and beverage industry looking to elevate their loyalty programs, solutions like LoyaltyLion can provide exclusive rewards, reduce reliance on discounts, and drive more revenue from subscribers. 

If you want to offer perks that go beyond traditional discounts then get started by booking a demo today

About the author

Georgie Walsh

Georgie is the Content Marketing Manager at LoyaltyLion. Georgie has spent most of her 6+ years marketing in B2B companies, and has developed a huge passion for bringing B2B voices alive through engaging copy and memorable storytelling.

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