Publix serves up ready-to-cook meal kits
Publix added a new line of ready-to-cook meal kits aimed at making cooking easier, according to Retail Leader. The new "Dinner Kits" are portioned for two and offer four recipes to choose from including pork tenderloin with apple compote and wild rice, and pan-seared flat iron steak with mushroom gnocchi and asparagus. The company has previously released slow-cooker meal kits and Aprons Simple Meals kits, which feed two to six people.
Keeping up with clean-label trends, the company's new kits will feature vegetarian-fed, antibiotic and hormone-free meats and organic produce from its Greenwise label.
Meal kit spending is rising three times faster than digital delivery or e-grocery. Nine percent of consumers have purchased a meal kit in the past six months and 25% said they would consider trying one in the next six months, representing more than 30 million potential household customers, according to a Nielson report.
Publix, like many other food retailers, is expanding its meal kit assortment to compete against online meal kit providers like HelloFresh, Plated and BlueApron. Although the online meal kit industry is facing tough challenges to retain customers, retailers can tap into their existing shopper base to offer convenient options that don't require a subscription.
Because retailers have this advantage, online brands are turning to retailers to sell their products. Blue Apron and Chef’d recently partnered with Costco and HelloFresh with Ahold Delhaize, while Kroger and Albertsons have made key acquisitions in the space. But some grocers like Publix and Walmart have decided to forego high-profile tie-ups and establish their own meal kit lines. Doing so offers numerous benefits, as well as potential disadvantages.
Grocers might, for instance, struggle to promote their kits if they aren't linked to a known brand name. Retailers might also have a hard time sourcing ingredients and forecasting demand — something online meal kit companies are adept at.
But Publix is a savvy operator with deep experience in prepared foods. Some of its kits are a natural extension of its Aprons line, which offers fresh meals as well as recipes and culinary education. By keeping things in-house, Publix is able to curate meal kits for specific shoppers, cut back on costs and bring in higher profit margins.
Publix is also able to offer more variety than many of its competitors. This includes kits that vary according to serving size, cuisine type and prep level. Soon after the launch of its Aprons meal kits, the company launched kits specifically for slow cookers and plans to switch out recipes often.
It's also notable that Publix's new dinner kits consist of produce and meats from its organic collection, Greenwise. This is a great opportunity to cross-promote the line and showcase it in culinary applications. As grocery retailers are expanding their private label brands, many are focusing on rolling out organic and natural products at reasonable costs in an effort to reach consumers interested in clean-label products — especially millennials. Millennials and Gen Xers are 321% more likely to buy meal kits than older generations, according to Nielsen.
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