Moving beyond subscriptions, Blue Apron plans to start selling its meal kit in stores this year. But company executives did not say where the meal kits would be sold or at what price, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
The move comes as surveys indicate some consumers don’t want the commitment or expense of traditional meal kit subscriptions. But, by offering its meal kits in stores and through its website, Blue Apron Chief Executive Brad Dickerson hopes to attract more customers.
“The access to consumers is much broader in this avenue than the avenue we’ve been operating in in the past,” Dickerson told WSJ.
Even though Blue Apron was one of the first meal kit services to hit the market, the company has been struggling with distribution problems and competition from other companies. While the company counted more than 1 million subscribers last year, it reported only 750,000 subscribers last month. So far, its stock has taken a beating, which has fallen nearly 50 percent this year.
The news of Blue Apron’s planned expansion into offering its kits in stores comes as Walmart has begun selling meal kits and “one-step meals” in more than 250 of its brick-and-mortar stores. The retailer plans to bring the meals to 2,000 of its locations in 2018, CNBC reported.
Tyler Lehr, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of deli services for Walmart U.S. said, “These delicious meals give the best or worst of cooks a fresh, easy option for dinner tonight or later this week.”
The meal kits are designed to serve two people and sell for $8 to $15. Walmart customers can buy them in the store or through the retailer’s online grocery pickup service.
Unlike meal kit delivery services, Walmart does not require its customers to purchase subscriptions. Traditional meal kit providers tend to rely on subscriptions to support their business models, which often involve costly and complex delivery processes.