As Blue Apron pursues its IPO and the meal kit market surges with new entrants, Food brands should be paying attention. Meal kit sales hit $1.5 billion last year; L2’s Food: E-Tailer Landscape report makes clear how brands can take advantage of the trend.
While Blue Apron offers limited opportunities for packaged food brands, grocery retailers are also investing in meal kits, with some providing more chances than others for brands to gain visibility. For example, Peapod lets Barilla and Campbell’s pay for sponsored meal kits such as “Parmesan Chicken Over Pasta by Barilla.” These brands show up in multiple recipes; the study finds that the pasta maker in particular is mentioned in three of the 13 meal kits available on Peapod.
In contrast, FreshDirect does little for brands, although the grocery service aggressively markets its meal kits and even purchases AdWords results against “blue apron” and other competitor terms. The store has not partnered with packaged food brands to cross-promote them, and its grid and product pages do not single out any food brands.
Brands interested in building their own meal service businesses rather than promoting products also have an opportunity in AmazonFresh, which Tyson uses to distribute its Tastemakers meal kits. AmazonFresh maintains a dedicated meal kits page in its primary navigation menu, unlike Amazon Prime Now, where shoppers can only find meal services by actively searching for them. This limits discoverability, an especially crucial asset in the meal kit market given how many options exist at consumers’ fingertips.