business news in context, analysis with attitude

Fortune reports that Walmart has struck a deal with Gobble, a new meal kit startup, that will have it selling the company’s kits on the Walmart website. The meal kits will not, however, be in Walmart stores.

According to the story, “The business relationship between the San Francisco-based startup and the largest retailer in the world comes after Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods in June 2018 sent Walmart and Kroger scrambling to improve their digital offerings … The battle over online food spending has seen traditional retailers turn to the subscriber model of companies like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh. Overall, U.S. meal-kit sales grew 40.7% last year, according to Earnest Research.”

Fortune writes that “Gobble’s niche in the crowded meal-kit market is dishes that can be prepared in 15 minutes or less and require only one pan. Each kit contains two servings and costs about $24 … Prior to this, Walmart offered customers kit options from companies like Sun Basket, Takeout Kit, and Home Chef, allowing shoppers to try the meal services out before subscribing.”
KC's View:
The interesting thing here is how Walmart is for the moment limiting Gobble to its website. I’m not sure if this is because it wants to segregate its various meal kit offerings, or just wants to test it out online before giving it store space.

I continue to be a believer in the long-term viability of the meal kit business. I was talking to someone the other day who told me that she loved the concept because it is helping teach young people how to cook. If that’s true, it would make a lot of supermarkets very happy … but they have to capitalize on it aggressively. They can’t just wait for the trend to come to them.