- Ahold Delhaize’s Peapod is partnering with Campbell Soup, Kraft Heinz and Barilla as it launches six new recipes for its meal kits, according to a recent article on PR Newswire.
- Three of the new recipes will feature ingredients from Peapod’s new partners: miso sriracha salmon with noodles from Campbell Soup, harvest chicken alfredo baked Ziti by Kraft Heinz, and Barilla Ready Pasta Gemelli with Chicken and Broccoli.
- The online grocer reports that new buyers of their meal kits grew by 104% in 2017.
As interest in Peapod’s meal kits continues to grow, the online grocer is returning to a model that has been successful in the past: partnering with food companies.
Barilla first approached Peapod in 2014 about collaborating on a meal kit — a partnership that enabled Peapod to take advantage of the pasta maker’s corporate kitchen, innovation and testing. Since then, the grocer has teamed up with General Mills, PepsiCo and spirit maker Jim Beam, among others.
Now, the retailer, owned by supermarket giant Ahold Delhaize, is returning to these household brands to launch three new recipes. There is already an impressive number of branded meal kits available on Peapod’s website. Ten out of 15 kits have an affiliation with a major food company (Hunt’s from Conagra, Mars' Uncle Ben’s rice), a specialty ingredient company (Zen of Slow Cooking), or a healthy recipe blog (Skinnytaste) .
Peapod reports new buyers of their meal kits grew by 104% in 2017. It's no wonder they are popular, as Peapod has worked to improve the things customers complain about when it comes to meal kits, the price and time it takes to prepare them. Peapod offers some of the cheaper prices for meal kits – some going for as little as $3.33 per serving, up to $9.50.
In addition to being more affordable than many of its meal kit competitors, Peapod’s meal kits also arrive with pre-measured, pre-cut and pre-washed fresh ingredients, so all the consumer has to do is cook the meal, which reportedly takes fewer than 30 minutes. Many of the other kits available still require prep work, which takes extra time and can be a deterrent to using a meal kit.
“You do not survive in this industry without being a little paranoid and looking over your shoulder," Carrie Bienkowski, Peapod’s chief marketing officer, told Food Dive last year. "Ten years ago, just getting your groceries delivered — that was convenient. But one of the things we're really internalizing is the fact that we've got to continue to evolve beyond just the delivery of groceries."
Thanks to it’s price, convenience and connection to trusted national brands, Peapod’s new round of meal kits appear poised to be hits for the retailer. While there is a clear incentive for Peapod to partner with food companies (increased sales), there is ample motivation for these manufacturers to want to work with the grocer.
As more shoppers skip the center aisles in favor of "shopping the perimeter" of supermarkets in favor of fresh foods, these food manufacturers are searching for ways to stay relevant and in consumer’s carts. This partnership with Peapod also gives them an easy "in" to the online grocery market, without having to invest much time or effort.
This new deal with Peapod likely has less to do with trying to move the needle financially for these food manufacturers, and more to do with remaining competitive. Kraft Heinz, for example, may not see a surge in sales from its meal kit, but it does keep its brand on consumers’ minds and in their kitchens.
These new recipes come at a time when Peapod is looking for a way to get more shoppers to use its service. In its third quarter earnings call, CFO Jeff Carr pointed out the brand’s struggling single-digit sales growth. The online grocer needs something to get more consumers on board, and these new meal kits could be part of a larger plan to attract them.