Business

First, Plated meal kits were removed from Albertsons stores. Now come layoffs.

What happened to Albertsons’ Plated meals?

The ready-to-cook meals for two are no longer available in stores.
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The ready-to-cook meals for two are no longer available in stores.

Weeks after Albertsons pulled Plated meal kits from most of its stores, 25 workers at Plated’s headquarters in New York City have been laid off.

The staff reductions represent about 10 percent of the company’s headquarters staff and are being made to help the company cut expenses.

“As a large company, we’re able to use corporate functions to assist with the needs of our various divisions, so it makes fiscal sense to streamline operations where we can,” Albertsons spokeswoman Chris Wilcox said in an email to the Idaho Statesman.

When Boise-based Albertsons bought Plated in September 2017, Albertsons executives said the purchase would allow the company to get meal kits in the hands of more customers by selling them in stores, cutting out the shipping time and expense from ordering online. At the same time, Plated would continue to offer the convenience of website purchases.

“The punchline for us is that we’re offering another service to our customers that we know they want,” then-CEO Bob Miller told the Statesman at the time.

Albertsons began its Plated push in stores in 20 Albertsons-owned Safeway stores in the San Francisco area and 20 Jewel-Osco stores in Chicago. It aimed to expand to as many as 650 stores across various Albertsons Cos. banners by the end of 2018.

Albertsons banners nationwide map 4-9-19.JPG
Albertsons Cos. has more than 2,300 stores under 21 banners: Albertsons, Albertsons Market, Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Lucky, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Sav-On, Acme, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Supermarkets, United Express, Market Street, Amigos, Haggen, Andronico’s Community Markets and Pak ‘n Save Foods.

When the Broadway Avenue Albertsons store in Boise opened in July, boxes of Plated kits greeted shoppers near the front of the store. That same week, the meal kits were for sale in six other Boise stores.

Plated meals were not included when the Albertsons Market Street store opened early last month in Meridian. Instead, store-made meals were offered, which also filled the refrigerated cases at the Broadway Avenue store that were previously filled with Plated meals.

A Statesman search last week of Plated’s store locator found only 19 stores in California’s Bay Area and two Market Street stores in Texas still carrying the kits. They are still available online, however, for delivery to homes in the lower 48 states from five distribution centers across the country.

Neither Albertsons nor Plated have said whether Plated sales are lagging.

“While we don’t release sales data nor do we comment on speculation, I can tell you that our team has had several quarters to evaluate Plated’s operation, and we feel there are opportunities to streamline processes and reduce expenses while further exploring additional offerings both for subscribers and in-store kits in the future,” Wilcox wrote.

plated
Screenshot of Plated’s homepage (www.plated.com).

Like any responsible business owner, Wilcox said, Albertsons evaluates its business frequently and looks for ways to gain customers and increase profitability.

“In the case of Plated, we’re also looking at how we can iterate their offerings to expand from dinner into other meals and needs,” she wrote.

The layoffs and the pullback from stores follow the departure of Plated co-founder and former CEO Josh Hix, who stepped down without explanation in January. His cofounder, Nick Taranto, left in October. They cofounded Plated in 2012 and sought investment on TV’s Shark Tank two years later.

Albertsons has about 280,000 employees and 2,300 stores under 21 banners: Albertsons, Albertsons Market, Safeway, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Lucky, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Sav-On, Acme, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Supermarkets, United Express, Market Street, Amigos, Haggen, Andronico’s Community Markets and Pak ‘n Save Foods.

Bloomberg first reported the layoffs.

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Reporter John Sowell has worked for the Statesman since 2013. He covers business and growth issues. He grew up in Emmett and graduated from the University of Oregon.

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