Blue Apron was one of the earliest pioneers of the meal kit universe, but even this O.G. is struggling as more companies including Plated and HelloFresh get in on the game. Net revenue for the company decreased 20 percent year-over-year, so Blue Apron is now turning to one of America’s favorite retailers, Costco, in an effort to attract new customers.
In a press release, the company teases a pilot program with Costco, though it doesn’t indicate how many stores will be part of the test run that it hopes will “expand the reach of our strong brand to more households across the country.” Meal kits in grocery stores may sound counterintuitive—aren’t shoppers already at the store to buy ingredients to make their own meals?—but it’s not new. Publix and Kroger carry meal kits, as does Walmart.
I’m slightly skeptical of the Costco/Blue Apron partnership because Costco’s food court and take-and-cook options are already so beloved. Are shoppers going to roll the dice on a Blue Apron meal kit when the stores already offer rotisserie chickens, take-and-bake dill-butter salmon (a favorite in the Bernot household), and pretty solid chicken Caesar salads the size of a hubcap?
The latest tiptoe into retail from yet another meal-kit provider indicates that these services—once all about home delivery—aren’t focusing exclusively on that aspect of business any longer. Now they’re just hoping you’re too stressed out to choose your own recipes and ingredients, and will turn to the magic, all-in-one box instead.