Albertson

Plated meal kits will soon be available for pick up in Albertson’s stores, providing customers with a convenient method of making dinner.

Albertson’s bought the specialty meal kit service Plated in 2017, and plans to include the branded kits at stores across the U.S. by the end of the year. Plated distinguished itself from popular services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh by offering more specialized menus, catering to vegetarians, gluten-free eaters, low carb, and other dietary preferences.

Albertson’s also plans to make Plated kits available via Instacart, with a two-hour delivery window, making ordering a meal kit even easier.

Many customers who have tried meal kit services eventually drop off as customer data shows, because they don’t want to be tied to a weekly subscription menu. Subscriptions are generally more cost-effective for companies with smaller distribution systems. Established corporations however, offer more choices and have a competitive advantage as they enter the market, including Albertson’s, Amazon and Weight Watchers. They are able to offer more flexible plans and prices than companies such as Blue Apron.

MindBody

MindBody, a popular class booking software used by most fitness and yoga studios, unexpectedly crashed the morning of April 5th.

The patience of its users was tested when the system wasn’t available in the early morning hours, when many people prefer to book exercise classes for the day. MindBody is a major software program used by ClassPass and popular fitness schools like YogaWorks, FlyWheel, and PopPhysique to help their clients book space in upcoming sessions, bypassing the need to arrive early to secure a spot.

Several hours later, the issue was fixed and MindBody’s system was available on mobile devices but still unavailable for desktop, the platform where many users prefer to book.

Weight Watchers Meal Kits

Weight Watchers announced plans to launch its own meal kit service, adding to the growing number of companies competing in this relatively young industry.

The meal kits are part of Weight Watcher’s new WW Healthy Kitchen initiative. Along with meal kits, the company is partnering with Gibson Overseas to offer a line of kitchen tools, including “infuser water bottles, pineapple corers and pots with internal portion-measuring marks,” according to an article in the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Weight Watchers meal kits will include fresh, pre-measured ingredients and recipes that you can cook at home, similar to traditional meal kit companies. However, Weight Watchers meal kits will be available in supermarkets rather than delivered to your door. The company is working with California-based meal kit company FreshRealm, and plans to roll the new kits out later this year.

Hello Fresh Aquires Green Chef

German-based meal kit company Hello Fresh announced that its revenue was up 90% in the US, surpassing first place contender Blue Apron. Hello Fresh also recently acquired Boulder-based meal kit service Green Chef, part of its plan to expand into specialty cuisine.

The meal kit industry has been going through a rough patch recently, especially Blue Apron, once a startup darling in the space. Last year, Amazon acquired grocery chain Whole Foods and announced its own entry into the meal kit service market, disrupting Blue Apron’s IPO. Investors who were once fans have since backed down, and the stock has struggled since it debuted last summer.

Blue Apron has also struggled with its new fulfillment center in New Jersey, as customer complaints rolled in about late deliveries and incorrect orders. The company pulled back on marketing the last few months, focusing on fixing these issues and hoping stock prices would rise.

Rhianna to Launch Lingerie Line

Megastar Rhianna reportedly plans to launch a new line of lingerie with TechStyle, the parent company of Kate Hudson’s Fabletics, according to website WWD who broke the news. This could be a key strategic move by company executives to position for an IPO.

TechStyle has done well in recent years, thanks in part to raising $300 million in investment capital and the growth of its group of online clothing brands, including signature brand Fabletics. Signing Rhianna to develop her own brand helps to expand its current offerings with another successful celebrity label.

Last year, Rhianna launched her makeup line Fenty Beauty, which quickly became a commercial and critical success. The singer also debuted her own fashion line in 2016 called Fenty Puma, which was shown during Paris fashion week.

Oprah Sells Some Weight Watchers Stock

Media maven Oprah Winfrey sold a quarter of her shares of Weight Watchers in early March, according to reports, making a substantial profit over what she initially paid for them.

Winfrey became a spokesperson for Weight Watchers in 2015, and initially, she purchased about 10% of the company, with an option to buy another 5 percent at a future date for a price tag of $6.97 per share, according to USA Today. She exercised that option in early 2018, buying an additional 1.4 million shares before selling a hefty portion, making almost nine times the amount she paid for them.

Winfrey’s shares of Weight Watchers sold for a range of $58.29 to $63.94 over the course of several days.