Albertsons will enter the subscription meal service market with its purchase of New York City-based Plated.
Plated offers subscribers ingredients and recipes for a variety of meals. The Wall Street Journal says it’s believed to be among the five largest meal-kit providers, a field that includes companies like Blue Apron and HelloFresh.
With the acquisition, Plated kits will continue to be available online but will also be sold at many grocery stores operated by the company, officials told the Statesman. Those stores include Albertsons, Safeway, Vons and Jewel-Osco. It’s the first time a national grocery chain has bought such a company, says the WSJ.
“Meal kits are a growing industry and we think our customers will continue to try and experiment with meal kits and we want to be there to offer a premium service to them,” Bob Miller, Albertsons’ CEO, told the Statesman. “We were able to partner with a great company with high-quality standards and exciting menus.”
Meal kits are a $2.2 billion business, according to Pentallect, a Chicago food industry consulting firm. Pentallect notes that’s a small part of the overall food industry, but predicts annual growth in the field of up to 30 percent over the next five years.
The purchase is expected to close by the end of September. Miller said he expects the Plated kits will begin arriving in select stores in the next 30 days. He said they should be available in Albertsons stores in Idaho in the next two or three months.
Online, customers choose how many servings they want per meal and over how many nights. Some examples: Two servings per night for four nights costs $96 per week. Four servings over four nights costs $159 a week.
Each week, Plated offers 10 entrees and seven other highly rated recipes that are part of a seasonal rotation. This week, customers can choose dishes that include spaghetti and chicken meatballs, oregano chicken, crispy flounder and lamb vindaloo. There are also two desserts to choose from: chocolate chip cookies, and peanut butter and strawberry jelly blondies.
The recipes are geared to be prepared within 20 minutes to an hour.
Plated has operated for five years and currently ships meals to all 48 states in the continental U.S from fulfillment centers located throughout the country. Insulated boxes are used to keep food fresh through delivery.
“It’s a young industry but has been growing pretty quickly,” said Josh Hix, co-founder and CEO of Plated. “We’re very excited to be able to roll out our service to a lot more people.”
Miller and Hix declined to provide sales figures for Plated, which has about 1,000 employees. Albertsons operates more than 2,200 stores and employs 281,000 workers.
Plated will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Albertsons and will continue to be based in New York. Hix will remain as CEO and will direct his own management team.
“The punchline for us is that we’re offering another service to our customers that we know they want,” Miller said.