Blue Apron is riding the pandemic meal kit boom into a new partnership with another famous chef.
Netflix star and restaurateur Tim Hollingsworth has created a menu of recipes exclusively for Blue Apron to bring summertime staples to the millions of consumers stuck at home cooking their own food due to COVID-19 fears.
According to Blue Apron, Hollingsworth has combined the flavors of his Texas childhood with California cuisine and his wife Coco's Lebanese culinary traditions into restaurant-quality dishes that can be made at home.
"Growing up in Texas, dinner was a family affair, with everyone coming together to make a meal. I've passed on the tradition to my kids and invite families everywhere to get together in the kitchen and get creative," Hollingsworth said. "With Blue Apron, fresh, pre-portioned ingredients are delivered straight to your door, making it easy for families small and large to explore new flavors and types of cuisine."
In the early days of the pandemic, meal kit services such as Blue Apron got a boost because consumers couldn't go to restaurants and many grocers struggled to meet demand. In its latest Q1 earnings report, Blue Apron said it started to see increased demand for its meal kits at the end of March, up 27% for the first three weeks in April. The company reported that it added 25,000 new subscribers in the first quarter.
Deutsche Bank recently noted that Blue Apron expects Q2 revenue to be up in the “high single digits” to $130 million and that would make “the first quarter of growth for the company since its operational issues began in mid-2017.”
The challenge for Blue Apron and other meal kit providers will be hanging on to all of that pandemic-related demand after the pandemic is over. Meal kit services have historically suffered from low retention rates. Fewer than 10% of new users in the U.S. are still around in two years, based on estimates from analytics company Second Measure.
"This collaboration invites Blue Apron members to host their own family cookouts that savor the classic summer flavors from Tim Hollingsworth's kitchen," said John Adler, VP of culinary at Blue Apron. "Whether you want to spend time outside by the grill, or keep it indoors on the stovetop, this culinary experience will give our members the chance to bring out their inner chef and connect over a delicious dinner."
The five new Blue Apron x Tim Hollingsworth recipes include:
- Chicken with Walnut Mahammara, Couscous & Labneh
- Grilled BBQ NY Strip Steaks with Baked Beans and Grilled Zucchini
- Salmon with Tamarind Sauce, Aromatic Rice and Crispy Onions
- Salsa Chicken Tacos with Snap Pea Elote
- Shrimp with Ginger-Tomato Cream and Rice Cakes
Blue Apron, based in New York City, is No. 99 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food retailers in North America.