As meal kit providers look to make the economics of the model work in the long term, many are expanding to additional categories and trying out new models. Blue Apron, for its part, has been supplementing its subscription business with partnerships with major retailers to offer one-time purchases.
On Wednesday (June 1), the company launched a selection of single-purchase meal kits on the Walmart Marketplace, a partnership originally announced in May alongside the company’s first-quarter 2022 results. The partnership follows a similar launch in December 2021, when the meal kit provider kicked off a collaboration with Amazon to order non-subscription Blue Apron meal kits that could be purchased by voice via Alexa-enabled devices.
“Through our work with Walmart.com Marketplace, we will be able to scale our e-commerce presence and introduce restaurant-quality meals without a subscription to a new group of customers who may not have considered meal kits before,” said Dani Simpson, Blue Apron’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “This is just the beginning, and we look forward to expanding the offering throughout the year.”
The offering includes meal kit boxes that include eight to 12 servings, as well as a six-serving ready-made Heat & Eat meals to be prepared in a microwave.
“We are thrilled to work with Blue Apron to offer an assortment of meal kits to Walmart customers,” Sheetal Patel, general manager of food consumables, health and wellness, Walmart U.S. Marketplace, said in a statement. “These fantastic meal solutions will make it easier and faster for busy families and individuals to discover, plan, prepare and enjoy delicious and quality meals.”
Walmart is far and away United States consumers’ first choice for grocery shopping. According to data from PYMNTS’ new study “The Benefits of Membership: Mass Retailers and Subscription Services,” which drew from a census-based survey of more than 2,100 U.S. consumers in late January and early February, 28% had made a purchase from the mega-retailer’s website in the previous 30 days.
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“This is a model that we plan to continue to expand where we can have that continued benefit of using our existing facilities, our existing pricing power and being able to reach a much broader audience, because Walmart.com has millions of monthly active users,” Blue Apron President and CEO Linda Findley told PYMNTS in a May interview.
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Across the industry, as the economics of the pure-play meal kit subscription model prove challenging, many providers are diversifying.
“We’re seeing expansion into different meal occasions; we’re seeing a demand for ready-to-eat meals across the industry; we’re seeing even more and more brands looking to offer incremental items that could be added to the basket,” Julie Marchant-Houle, U.S. CEO of multinational meal kit company Marley Spoon, told PYMNTS in a January interview. “So, I think convenience is a big theme that has it just continuing to accelerate.”
See also: In 2022, Meal Kits Will Adapt to Be More Convenient
NEW PYMNTS DATA: THE TAILORED SHOPPING EXPERIENCE STUDY – MAY 2022
About: PYMNTS’ survey of 2,094 consumers for The Tailored Shopping Experience report, a collaboration with Elastic Path, shows where merchants are getting it right and where they need to up their game to deliver a customized shopping experience.