Just when you thought the popularity surrounding meal kits was cooling down, grocery stores have jumped into the ring, creating their own version of the convenient pre-selected, pre-proportioned boxes of ingredients. But Albertsons Co. — operator of supermarkets like Safeway and Jewel-Osco — is taking a different road: It’s simply buying an existing meal kit service, Plated.
Idaho-based Albertsons announced Wednesday that it would acquire meal kit service Plated in an attempt to “reinvent the way customers discover, purchase, and experience food.”
Under the deal, for which financial terms were not released, Albertsons will begin offering Plated meal kits in “many” of its 2,300 stores — operating under the Albertsons, Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, and other names — across the country.
Plated will be able to leverage its new position to acquire fresh ingredients to create new offerings, while also reaching more than 35 million customers each week, Albertsons says in a statement.
“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,” Bob Miller, chair and CEO of Albertsons Companies, said in a statement.
Plated is one of a handful of subscription meal kits that send fresh, pre-proportioned ingredients to customers’ homes. The service, which launched in 2012, offers customers a variety of pre-selected dinners to choose from each week, as well as deserts.
The meal kit company will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Albertsons.
Expanding The Brand
Albertsons’ foray into the meal kit business comes after several other grocery chains have experimented with offering their own kits or have teamed up with existing services to offer meals in stores.
For instance, Whole Foods has created displays that feature a recipe and all the raw ingredients needed to make the meal. The new meal kit-like option is currently being tested at select stores.
Speaking of Whole Foods, the chain’s new owner, Amazon, has started to dip its toes in the meal kit pond with Amazon Meal Kits. While the service isn’t yet available nationally, AmazonFresh customers in Seattle can buy the kits as part of an AmazonFresh membership.
Kroger, on the other hand, offers customers the option of picking up an actual meal kit, complete with pre-measured ingredients.
The kits, which cost between $7 and $18 depending on the number of servings, are currently only available in select Cincinnati stores.