The meal kit industry continued to evolve in 2018, with Chef’d going under, HelloFresh buying Chefs Plate and Green Chef, and Kroger acquiring HomeChef.
The presence of meal kits at retail is steadily growing. Kroger, in addition to offering HomeChef kits in its stores, is also including the products as part of their Walgreens pilot.
HelloFresh has partnered with Ahold Delhaize. Blue Apron piloted its meal kits with Costco. Other retailers have created their own programs, like Hy-Vee’s Mealtime Kits.
What follows is a timeline of some of Produce Retailer's coverage of the meal kit space this year.
Blue Apron plans to focus on best customers after revenue decline, layoffs
By Ashley Nickle — Nov. 16
Changes are coming for meal kit company Blue Apron as 2019 approaches.
The company announced Nov. 13 that it laid off 4% of its workforce, a move expected to save the company $16 million next year, according to a news release.
Blue Apron released its third-quarter earnings report to coincide with the downsizing. Net revenue in the quarter was $150.6 million, down 28% from the third quarter last year.
The decrease in revenue was driven mostly by a decrease in customer count as the company pulls back its marketing spend and pursues a omnichannel, multi-product strategy, according to a news release. Executives conveyed that the company is nevertheless heading in the right direction.
Raley’s debuts fresh meal kit line
By Ashley Nickle — Oct 30
Raley’s has launched a tiered line of meal kit products that range from vegetable sides to individual meal components to more standard meal kits.
The recipes were designed by Raley’s culinary innovation manager and chef Evelyn Miliate, and recipes will change quarterly, according to a news release.
The company created the meal kit line in response to Nielsen data that indicates 70% of shoppers want to try new recipes and new foods and 50% of people want to buy individual components and build the meal on their own.
HelloFresh acquires Canadian meal kit company Chefs Plate
By Ashley Nickle — Oct 26
HelloFresh has purchased Chefs Plate, a top Canadian meal kit company.
The companies expect to realize synergies in sourcing, operating and marketing expenses, and the combined scale allows the companies to target break-even in Canada for 2019, according to a news release. The deal is expected to close within the next few weeks.
Chef’d burns through cash, halts operations
By Produce Retailer Staff — July 18
After being valued at roughly $160 million last year, Los Angeles-based meal kit startup Chef’d abruptly ceased operations July 16.
The company, which started as a non-subscription online model, launched a plan for rapid expansion into more than 1,000 retail locations by the end of 2018. The most recent stores to add Chef’d included Duane Reed and Walgreens drug stores in Manhattan.
HelloFresh headed to Ahold Delhaize shelves
By Produce Retailer Staff — June 4
In one of the largest subscription-to-retail deals in the business yet, New York-based meal kit company HelloFresh is headed to nearly 600 Ahold Delhaize USA stores.
HelloFresh remains an independent food brand, according to a news release, unlike recent deals including Kroger’s acquisition of Home Chef, and Albertsons’ Plated acquisition.
Kroger to invest up to $700 million for meal kit company Home Chef
By Produce Retailer Staff — May 23
Kroger Co. plans to spend up to $700 million to scale up its meal kit business with the acquisition of Chicago-based Home Chef.
The Cincinnati-based company said in a news release the initial transaction price is $200 million, with “future earnout payments of up to $500 million over five years … contingent on achieving certain milestones.”
Meal kit company draws investment from Del Monte
By Ashley Nickle — May 7
Fresh Del Monte Produce has made a $4 million equity investment in plant-based meal kit company Purple Carrot.
Del Monte has been focusing on expanding its product offerings. It acquired Salinas, Calif.-based Mann Packing earlier this year.
Chairman and CEO Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh said in the latest Del Monte earnings call May 1 that the company was interested in the meal kit space.