Walmart said that it will make the meals-in-a-box available at 2,000 stores this year, up from 250 currently. The Arkansas-based company will offer a range of options, including pre-portioned kits like ‘steak dijon’ and ‘pork florentine’. It will also sell Rotisserie Chicken Meals, which use the roasted poultry in preparations like ‘Thai chicken curry’.
Shoppers who would prefer even less prep will be able to buy One Step Meals, like ‘chicken alfredo’ that only require heating up.
“Customers are busier than ever and we know getting a delicious dinner on the table can be a chore. We’re here to help,” said Tyler Lehr, general merchandise manager for deli services at Walmart US.
The news ignited fresh selling in Blue Apron, the New York-based company that’s primary business is marketing such kits. Shares dropped 4 per cent to $2.63, bringing the year to date loss to 34.9 per cent.
Blue Apron floated its shares last June for $10 a piece in an offering that was scaled far back from its original range of $15-$17.
It has come under pressure as investors have grown increasingly concerned about both competition and the costs Blue Apron faces to acquire new customers. Amazon, the online retailer, revealed just before Blue Apron’s IPO plans to buy upmarket grocer Whole Foods. Amazon has, since then, been selling meal kits through its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service.
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