Chef'd meal kits now sold in Walgreens and Duane Reade
Chef’d is collaborating with Walgreens to sell its meal kits at 30 Walgreens and Duane Reade stores in New York City. The expansion to the drug store chain is part of a larger partnership with Smithfield Foods to sell the meal kits at Costco, Weis Markets, Harris Teeter, Tops and Gelson's Markets.
The meal kits can be found at certain locations in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Forest Hills and Yonkers as well as Hoboken and Jersey City in New Jersey.
Available recipes include herb-crusted flank steak with roasted potatoes, sugar snap peas and horseradish cream sauce; 20-clove garlic chicken with mashed purple potatoes and spinach; and chicken tikka masala with basmati rice, raita and naan. The meal kits will take between 10 to 30 minutes to prepare and will serve two or more people, with price starting at $15.99.
Already established in grocery stores, Chef’d is exploring another convenient way to provide meals to customers.
“Getting into the drug store category helps us to reach a larger customer base who may not be familiar with meal kits. The drug store setting adds an extra layer of convenience, allowing customers to get in and out of stores quickly,” said JR Badian, chief marketing officer at Chef’d, told The Packer.
The meal kit maker has led the industry in stepping outside the traditional direct-to-customer model. In May, Chef’d partnered with Byte Foods to sell meal kits at 100 unattended "smart refrigerator" locations throughout the San Francisco Bay area and Sacramento, California. In April, the company launched customizable kits through the Innit app that allows customers to plan meals and their delivery date.
This recent spark in innovation comes from meal kit companies struggling to retain customers and make a profit. Now they are turning to retailers to attract additional consumers. These include consumers who might not want to be locked into subscriptions, desiring flexibility to pick up meals whenever they are needed, or people who have never heard of meal kits. Several meal kits have found their way to store shelves in recent months. Blue Apron began selling at Costco, Albertsons announced a nationwide rollout of its recently acquired Plated kits, HelloFresh joined forces with Ahold Delhaize's Giant and Stop & Shop stores, and Kroger recently acquired Home Chef.
Chef’d won’t be the only one benefiting from this deal. Drug stores are notorious for pursuing the grocery space. And Walgreens could use a boost, considering its two top rivals — CVS and Rite Aid — are in the midst of big mergers. According to Walgreens Boots Alliance's most recent earnings report from March, comp store sales in the U.S. were up slightly — 2.4% more than a year ago. This increase came entirely from pharmacy sales; retail sales in the stores were down 0.7% from the year prior.
This isn't necessarily the only meal kit that will find a home on drug store shelves. Albertsons-owned Plated kits are likely to be sold in Rite Aid stores if the grocery giant's takeover of the drugstore chain is approved. In the meantime, Chef’d has a chance to gain a competitive advantage in the increasingly food-focused channel.
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