Albertsons to Expand Plated Meal Kits to Stores Nationwide
More than a half year after purchasing the New York-based meal-kit service, Albertsons Cos. has revealed plans to expand Plated kits from 40 grocery stores in two major markets to hundreds of stores nationwide under various banners by the year’s end.
Select Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market and Haggen locations will carry the kits by the end of 2018, making it easier for shoppers to find dinner solutions without the need for a subscription or relying on delivery. Previously, the kits were tested in 20 Chicago-area Jewel-Osco stores and 20 Safeway stores in Northern California.
Additionally, Albertsons plans to make the Plated kits available to its customers in more ways, including delivery in as little as two hours via Instacart, online ordering for same-day and scheduled home delivery, and pickup via Drive Up and Go, Albertsons’ click-and-collect service.
The retail offering debuts with six new meal kits that represent the service’s customer favorites, including Crunchy Chicken Milanese with Honey Mustard and Arugula, Roasted Chicken au Jus with Orzo and Peas, Beef Noodle Bowls with Dinosaur Kale and Mushrooms, Steak Frites with Creamy Shallot Sauce and Sautéed Spinach, Skillet Grandma Pie with Parmesan-Kale Salad, and Pine Nut–Crusted Salmon with Creamy Tomato Farro and Roasted Green Beans. Recipes are crafted by Plated’s culinary team, which is led by Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Elana Karp.
“This is the next big step in our journey to enable everyone to enjoy fresh, delicious meals. We’ve delivered millions of meals to Americans through our acclaimed subscription service, and now we’ll be able to meet and serve millions of new customers with an entirely new level of convenience,” said Josh Hix, co-founder and CEO of Plated.
“Plated is not just a meal kit, it’s a culinary experience. That’s what sets us apart,” said Pat Brown, group VP, merchandising and strategic initiatives at Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons Cos. “Our customers learn new techniques, and can experiment with delicious and culturally diverse recipes.”
While Blue Apron and Hello Fresh might dominate in terms of meal kits purchased, kits offered through brick-and-mortar retailers have experienced impressive gains, new research from Schaumburg, Ill.-based market researcher Nielsen shows: Sales of in-store meal kits grew 26.5 percent over the past year, reaching $154.6 million, according to the report, “The Meal Kit Opportunity.” At the same time, total brick-and-mortar sales for center store edibles – including shelf-stable, dairy and frozen foods – dipped 0.1 percent to $374 billion.
This growth could be attributed to the advantages that in-store kits provide over those offered through online services: They require less commitment than those purchased via subscription-based services, and they offer more flexibility for retailers and suppliers to experiment with components and “levels” of convenience that keep customers coming back.