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The Wall Street Journal reports that meal kit company Hello Fresh is joining the trend toward offering meal kits in supermarkets, and this week will begin having its kits sold in some 600 Ahold Delhaize-owned Giant and Stop & Shop stores.

The move seems to be yet another acknowledgment that meal kit companies need retail availability beyond the subscription model with which the majority of them began.

Blue Apron meal kits now are being sold in Costco stores. Albertsons bought Plated. Late last month, Kroger bought Home Chef.

The Journal quotes Germany-based HelloFresh CEO Dominik Richter as saying that “while online subscriptions will drive sales for the foreseeable future, retail placement will help the Berlin-based startup find new customers.”

The story notes that “Hello Fresh has grown rapidly since arriving in the U.S. in 2012. The company reported around $215 million in sales and 1.2 million customers in its most-recent quarter. New York-based Blue Apron, previously the market leader, counted 786,000 customers and $197 million in sales during the same period.”
KC's View:
I think it is very smart for the meal kit companies to seek supermarket distribution, since one of the main complaints I hear about the model from consumers is the subscription commitment - because of the nature of fresh food and meals, subscriptions can make some folks feel straight-jacketed.

I wonder about supermarket getting into businesses with outside meal kit companies when I read about meal kit companies believing that retail placement will help drive more subscription business. I don’t see how that’s good for traditional retailers, who could end up losing share of stomach; it would seem to make more sense for the retailers who buy the meal kit companies and can control the whole supply chain.