- Amazon’s new AmazonFresh grocery delivery service is now offering Martha Stewart’s Martha & Marley Spoon meal kits to its customers, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier. The meal kit service features recipes and pre-portioned fresh, seasonal ingredients, and doesn't require users to commit to buying a specific number of meals or place orders weeks in advance.
- The company began the service last month in New York, San Francisco, Dallas and Philadelphia, and recently expanded to include Boston, Washington, D.C., and areas of Southern California as well.
- Atlanta-based credit and debit card spending analysis firm Cardlytics found that consumer interest in meal kits increased a whopping 311% in 2015 compared to the year prior.
The meal kit trend is proving to be more than just a passing fad — last year, 25% of adults bought a meal kit, and 70% of meal kit purchasers have continued to buy them, according to a Harris Poll.
As consumer demand for both in-store and delivery meal kit options continues to rise, retailers and manufacturers are racing to differentiate with exotic ingredients, trendy flavor profiles and celebrity endorsements. Just last month, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady partnered with meal-kit startup Purple Carrot to develop TB12 performance meals, named after Brady's initials and jersey number. The athlete's branded meal kits feature gluten-free, protein-rich meals aimed to help "active individuals cook many of the same delicious meals Brady will be eating," according to Fortune.
Meanwhile, earlier in the year, Oprah Winfrey and food manufacturing giant Kraft Heinz created Mealtime Stories, a line of prepackaged, nutritious meals that will donate 10% of profits to anti-hunger charities.
Like Brady and Winfrey, Martha Stewart's name has brought buzz and credibility to the meal kit space, and also sparked plenty of free advertising as fans spread the word about the line on social media. Martha & Marley Spoon's partnership with AmazonFresh benefits both companies, giving the meal kit line an even broader reach and pushing Amazon ahead of Kroger in the meal kit race.
Korger CEO Rodney McMullen has spoken frequently about the possibility of the retailer entering the meal kit business, but the company has yet to make a move. The nation's largest grocery store has a lot to lose if shoppers start having their ingredients delivered to their doors instead of picking them up from the grocery store, and AmazonFresh's capture of Martha & Marley Spoon brings added pressure.
It will be interesting to see if this move by AmazonFresh will push Kroger and other supermarkets to partner with meal kit services, or launch their own store-branded lines. Some analysts feel that the high prices of meal kits will eventually discourage consumers, while others predict that the lucrative business will continue to expand in the years ahead.