On July 6, Amazon registered a trademark for “We do the prep. You be the chef,” indicating a plan to launch meal kits. Less than two weeks later, the e-tailer began to offer its private label meal kits in Seattle and other select areas, changing the landscape of the meal kit category. This change became immediately apparent with the fall of Blue Apron shares.
Meal services like Blue Apron and Hello Fresh are “well funded, well publicized, and growing quickly,” according to L2’s Insight Report exploring the e-tailer landscape for food companies. Online grocers have also joined in, with FreshDirect and Peapod featuring meal kits prominently on their homepages. These grocer services also create an opportunity for packaged food brands to co-promote products and offer them to online grocery shoppers in a more innovative format. For example, Peapod features sponsored meal kits from Campbell’s, Barilla, and Kraft Heinz in its navigation.
The introduction of Amazon’s private label meal kits also changes the landscape of AmazonFresh. In places where these meal kits are unavailable, like New York zip code 10003, consumers see relatively equal distribution of brands on the first page of the Amazon Fresh meal kit category. But in Seattle zip code 98144, where Amazon has launched its private label meal kits, the share of shelf looks entirely different. Amazon meal kits occupy 70.8% of the first page, drastically reducing the visibility of Tyson Tastemakers and Martha & Marley Spoon.
While AmazonFresh is still an important outlet for meal kits, brands should be aware that they will be pushed to the sidelines as the e-tailer releases its own products. Both Blue Apron and grocery brands with private label meal kit offerings, such as FreshDirect and Peapod, now have to face Amazon’s ability to turn its 80 million existing Prime subscribers into meal kit customers.