It was a mixed bag for Blue Apron in 2021 and in the fourth quarter, as the company grew its order value while taking some financial hits to invest in future growth.
Blue Apron Holdings, Inc. released its quarterly and full-year financial results, posting net revenue gains and improvements in average order values for yet another period when consumers spent more time preparing and eating meals at home.
For the year, the company bolstered its net revenue by 2% over 2020, moving to $470.4 million from $460.6 million. Adjusted EBITDA for 2021 was a loss of $39.2 million, a decline the company attributed to its fourth quarter investments in growth strategies.
It was indeed a busy fourth quarter for Blue Apron, as it completed a $78 million equity capital raise that will help it aggressively pursue the next steps in its evolution as a meal solutions provider through a ramped-marketing strategy and other efforts like expanded menu choices, brand partnerships and ordering flexibility. Although net revenue declined in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, average value orders in that time rose to $63.78, the highest level since Blue Apron began tracking the metric in 2015. Stacked against the pre-pandemic year of 2019, net revenue in fourth quarter was up by 13%.
In addition to providing financial metrics, Blue Apron shared progress towards some of its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals. Among those initiatives: an increase of starting wages to $18 per hour and progress towards the objective of being carbon neutral by March 31, 2022.
For 2022, the company announced that it expects revenue to increase to “at least the mid-teens percentage range” over 2021, as the organization rolls out more marketing and promotional programs. “Overall, we believe that 2022 will be a transformational year for Blue Apron, and we believe that the actions and investments we are currently making put us in a strong position to return to a path of long term and sustainable growth moving forward,” remarked Linda Findley, president and CEO.