Albertsons-owned meal kit service Plated laid off roughly 10 percent of its corporate staff, according to Bloomberg. The cost-cutting move follows news from last month that Albertsons was scaling back Plated’s availability at its retail stores and the abrupt departure of Plated’s CEO in January.
Albertsons bought Plated in September of 2017 for $200 million, and started rolling out meal kits to Albertsons retail locations in April of 2018. The plan was to expand Plated’s meal kits out to 650 stores by the end of last year.
The layoffs amount to 25 employees in the New York City office, and Bloomberg reports that “The cuts will allow Plated to reduce expenses and better utilize the larger company’s operations structure already in place.”
After launching in 20 stores in California and 20 stores in Chicago, a recent search by The Idaho Statesman found Plated meal kits only available in 19 California stores and two stores in Texas.
An Albertsons spokesperson told Grocery Dive that the company remained committed to meal kits and that it is innovating in the space for future meal kits expansion. Albertsons said this innovation could include moving beyond the core offering of dinner and into other meals or snacks as well as wine pairings.
It’s hard to imagine Albertsons giving up on meal kits entirely, as a recent Nielsen survey showed retail outlets is where most of the growth in meal kits is coming from. Additionally, an NPD study found that 93 million U.S. adults want to try meal kits and that broadened meal categories (breakfast, etc.) were a big opportunity for meal kit companies.
Plus, Albertsons surely doesn’t want to be left behind as rivals such as Amazon now sells meal kits in its Whole Foods stores, and Kroger, which owns meal kit company Home Chef, rolls out customizeable meal kits, and has expanded meal kit sales into drug stores.