More US grocery chains enter meal kit fray

More U.S. grocery chains are getting into the meal kit business to compete with successful operators such as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh.

Albertsons Companies, which operates more than 2,300 stores, last week said it would buy the Plated meal kit service for between USD 175 and 200 million (EUR 147 annd 168 million), according to Techcrunch.

“Today’s consumer is looking for a variety of personalized shopping alternatives, and this transaction is the latest example of Albertsons Cos. meeting our customers wherever and however they like to shop,” Albertsons Companies CEO Bob Miller said in a press release announcing the purchase.

Simultaneously, Ralphs unveiled its Prep+Pared meal kit line, which includes seafood dishes. Among the eight seasonal meal kit recipes are Crispy Fish Tacos and Peruvian Salmon. 

The kits, which feed two adults, range from USD 14 (EUR 11.73) to USD 20 (EUR 16.77) each.

While the meal kits are available in 25 Ralphs’ locations across Southern California now, they will be available at more than 100 Ralphs’ stores by early 2018.

"The meals are fresh-made, chef-inspired, restaurant quality, easily prepared at home and affordable," Ralphs President Valerie Jabbar said. "With Prep+Pared, we've taken all of the work behind planning and preparing a fresh, delicious meal and made it easy to cook in just minutes.”

Albertsons and Ralphs are just the two latest examples of retailers entering the booming meal kit business – often with seafood components. 

In early July, Amazon said it is developing a meal kit line featuring a variety of proteins, including seafood. 

Kroger has also launched its own meal delivery service, and Publix, a chain of 1,144 supermarkets located throughout the Southeast United States, is highlighting seafood in its test of meal kits in two of its stores.

One of Publix’s seafood-focused kits includes all the ingredients to make Smoked Maple Salmon with Corn and Portabella Mushroom Succotash. The kit retails for USD 39.99 (EUR 33.52) and feeds four people. Another kit, which retails for USD 37.99 (EUR 31.85), supplies all the ingredients to make Chipotle Shrimp Tacos for four.


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