Publix Adds Meal Kits for Slow Cookers

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Publix Adds Meal Kits for Slow Cookers

By Randy Hofbauer - 12/04/2017

Southeastern supermarket chain Publix has added a set of options designed for slow cookers to its line of Aprons meal kits, the Tampa Bay Business Journal has reported.

The new kits – launched the week of Nov. 13, the news outlet said – include three varieties: chicken and dumplings, chick roast and pork carnitas, which are available for a limited time. Kits serve four people each, with every one including a liner to minimize cleanup. While the kits are available in several Tampa-area stores' meat sections – separate from other Aprons kits – customers are able to request managers of their local stores to order them.

Publix isn’t the first brand to get into slow-cooker meal kits. Last November, Omaha Steaks and the Crock-Pot brand teamed to launch a line of cobranded slow-cooker kits, available through Omaha Steaks online and at its 70-plus retail locations nationwide.

Publix first launched its Aprons line of meal kits in May, the same month rival Kroger introduced its own offerings in the space under the Prep+Pared brand. Since the launches, Kroger has expanded the availability of its kits beyond the initial four-store pilot, to locations around Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio.

According to recent research from Field Agent, high prices are the chief concern and barrier to those who have purchased and who have not purchased meal kits, respectively, and it’s understandable why: Kit services such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Plated and more can run at least roughly $10 per serving. With the slow-cooker kits running at prices such as $14.99 for the chicken and dumplings kit and $19.99 for the chuck roast kit, the Business Journal stated, users stand to spend about $5 per serving at most, compared to $14 per person with the Crock-Pot/Omaha Steaks kits ($7.50 when two or more are purchased at once). This falls in line with Publix’s other Aprons kits, which, although costing up to $37.99, can run users as little as $9.99 for four servings. Kroger’s kits cost a minimum of $7 per person.

Moreover, “Saving time” and “easier preparation” make up two of the top five benefits meal kits provide to users, research from the Fayetteville, Ark.-based market researcher shows. Meal kits’ removal of the “what’s for dinner” question and shopping process – paired with the set-and-forget nature of slow cookers and the new kits’ liners – help further set Publix’s newest kits apart from those sold by competing grocers and meal-kit services.

The meal kits market has reached an estimated $1.5 billion over the past five years, according to Rockville, Md.-based market research firm Packaged Facts, with continued growth expected in the years to come.