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Albertsons announced yesterday that it is acquiring the meal kit service Plated, which the company said “advances a shared strategy to reinvent the way consumers discover, purchase, and experience food.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Plated will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Albertsons; the purchase is expected to close later this month.

In the announcement, the companies said: “In teaming up with Plated, Albertsons Cos. adds a meal kit company with leading technology and data capabilities, a strategic step for the company as it continues to focus on innovation, personalization, and customization. Together, Albertsons Cos. and Plated will leverage their diverse and complementary strengths to serve customers in a way that appeals to the evolving lifestyles and food preferences of people across the country. Among the key projected outcomes of this deal is for Plated to become the first omnichannel meal kit offering with national scale.”

Bloomberg writes that “the Albertsons deal represents a similar strategy to that of Inc., the e-commerce giant that has rocked the food industry this year. In June, Amazon agreed to buy health food retailer Whole Foods Market Inc. for $13.7 billion. A month later, it filed a meal-kit trademark application for prepared food kits.”

In a statement, Albertsons chairman/CEO Bob Miller said, “Plated knows its customers better than anyone, and together we will accelerate our ability to serve them.  We are excited to offer our customers more online options and fresh, quality ingredients along with distinctive recipes at their doorstep or through traditional shopping trips.”

And Josh Hix, co-founder/CEO of Plated, said, "Joining Albertsons Companies presents an amazing opportunity to accelerate our positive impact on the future of food in America by making fresh, delicious food more widely available … There’s tremendous upside for Plated's customers whose experience with our brand will only get better. As meal kits continue to gain traction in the marketplace, we believe the winning formula combines choice, flexibility, culinary expertise, and the ability for customers to buy across channels--all of which we are now singularly positioned to deliver in collaboration with Albertsons Cos.”
KC's View:
Albertsons won’t be the first retailer to offer meal kits - Kroger and Whole Foods both do it to varying degrees - but it has the potential to roll this out in all its bricks-and-mortar stores pretty quickly. I think this is a very smart move, and a potential game changer for Albertsons … and I suspect it could prompt other, similar moves by other retailers. (The folks at Blue Apron must be wondering exactly why they went through an IPO which has proven to be an enormous disappointment when they could’ve just waited to be acquired.)