BOISE, Idaho – To maintain market share in the supermarket channel, more grocery stores are likely to start buying meal-kit services, according to The Information, CNBC reports. Albertsons Companies, owner of Safeway, is rumored to be thinking of buying Plated, while Green Chef and Home Chef both are open to acquisitions. “There [is] a frenetic market out there,” said Green Chef CEO Michael Joseph, “but … we wouldn't be shocked if we got an offer. We had companies asked if we're for sale.”
Around 12% of U.S. shoppers purchased groceries online sometime during 2016, according to Cowen and Company. That number is expected to increase, which could translate into more consumers willing to use meal kit services too.
By teaming up with meal kits, grocery stores could have be better prepared to take on Amazon and its acquisition of Whole Foods. Amazon already sells meal kits in metro areas and has conducted pilot programs of food delivery via Amazon Fresh. Amazon appears to have no plans on slowing down its foray into the grocery industry, and traditional supermarkets would be wise to consider ways to stay relevant with shoppers.
“You're seeing incredible changes in the landscape of how people buy food and the migration online,” Kyle Ransford, CEO of Chef'd. “But brick and mortar is going to be significant. A lot of major retailers are interested in adding meal kits.”
In May, Kroger started a test run of its own branded meal kits in four Cincinnati stores. Also this past spring, Unilever announced its investment in the Sun Basket meal kit startup.