Hannaford the latest retailer to jump into the meal-kit craze

Scarborough, Maine, U.S.A.-based Hannaford Bros. is the latest in a surge of supermarkets offering meal kits, joining Walmart, Publix, Albertsons, and numerous other grocery chains.

Some of the new kits at Hannaford, which operates 181 grocery stores in the Northeast United States, feature sustainable seafood, such as Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)-certified farmed Atlantic salmon. 

Hannaford’s announcement follows on the heels of Walmart’s own announced foray into the meal-kit market. In March, Walmart rolled out an expansive meal kit program that will be available in 2,000 of its stores by the end of the year. Walmart.com has already begun carrying Home Chef meal kits, including a kit featuring Miso-Ponzu salmon and Texas-Style Steak on Toast for 2.2 people, for USD 39.80 (EUR 32.30).

In April, Weight Watchers and Blue Apron also made announcements saying they were starting their own meal kit lines, to be sold in U.S. supermarkets this year. The kits are likely to feature seafood. And Seattle, Washington-based PCC Community Markets, a natural cooperative grocery chain, just added private label meal kits containing seafood in stores and on its website.

It is not surprising that United States grocery chains are rapidly entering the lucrative meal kit market, valued at USD 5 billion (EUR 4.1 billion). In-store meal kit sales grew 26.5 percent over the past year to reach USD 154.6 million (EUR 125.5 million), according to Nielsen.

The new meal kits from PCC Community Markets are available in-store and for delivery via Amazon and Instacart. They feature six different “globally-inspired” meals that rotate, including the current Blackened Seasonal Fish Tacos with Avocado-Tomatillo Crema.

The kits are created in-house, with sustainable seafood, non-GMO and locally-raised meats, and nearly 100 percent organic produce. 

“The meal kit market is growing at an incredible rate, and as a certified-organic grocer, PCC is uniquely positioned to succeed,” said Darrell Vannoy, vice president of merchandising at PCC, Progressive Grocer reported. “We have access to the freshest, highest-quality ingredients right in our stores.”

Hannaford Supermarkets also uses in-house ingredients, and is partnering with Home Chef for online ordering of meal kits. Each week, Hannaford customers can choose from three different Home Chef recipes, which can be cooked in about 30 minutes. Each meal kit serves two people and is available for USD 17.99 (EUR 14.60).

“The menu will rotate weekly and there will usually be one seafood item per week. We partner with Hannaford to determine the best menu for their customers,” Susan Oguche, public relations director for Home Chef, told SeafoodSource.

Customers can order the kits, which include Home Chef’s recipes and pre-portioned ingredients, on hannaford.com, and then pick them up at Hannaford To-Go locations the same day. Hannaford To-Go is available at 41 of its stores in Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Massachusetts.

“We feel this is a very good opportunity to explore this new product avenue with our online customers,” Hannaford spokesman Eric Bloom told SeafoodSource. “At this time, the kits are not available in stores, but we are always learning and looking at opportunities.”

The proteins used in the meal kits – including the sustainable farmed salmon in the currently available Brown Sugar salmon kit – are supplied by Hannaford. 

“Every seafood product in our stores is sustainably harvested; therefore all of the seafood included in Home Chef kits are sustainably harvested,” Bloom said. In fact, all farmed seafood sold in Hannaford stores is certified by Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP).

The retailers are seeking to capitalize on a rising interest among their customers in finding more convenient ways to cook, Oguche said.

“Our research shows that 36 percent of customers are interested in buying their meal kits at retail. While retail distribution is currently a small portion of the market, we expect it to continue to grow exponentially,” Oguche said, adding that Home Chef is currently talking with several retailers about offering the company’s meal kits.


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