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.
This has created challenges in the meal kit industry. Weight Watchers has announced plans to launch a line of “quick prep” meals in grocery stores this year, offering convenience for those looking to create a healthier diet plan. Amazon has also begun offering its own line of meal kits as individual items, also thwarting the traditional meal kit model of only offering subscriptions to customers.
Blue Apron launched its stock shortly after Amazon announced its entry into the meal kit industry, causing investors to question Blue Apron’s long-term viability. Since then, the stock has struggled.
Hello Fresh however has continued to grow since its IPO, and is headed to surpass Blue Apron in sales in 2018.
Plated meals are expected to be available at other Albertsons-owned stores by the end of 2018 as well, including Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randall’s and Tom Thumb.
“Since partnering with Albertsons Companies last year, we’ve accelerated our growth and are thrilled to bring an elevated culinary experience to more people in more ways,” said Josh Hix, co-founder and CEO of Plated. “Today we’re announcing that in addition to our subscription offering, customers near hundreds of Albertsons Companies stores will be able to pick up last-minute or order online for on demand delivery.”
Blue Apron has taken notice and is working to increase revenue as well as its customer base. The company announced its own plans to sell its meal kits in grocery stores this year, as well as through its traditional subscription service.