Weight Watchers is trying to carve out a space in the meal kit market—they’re just skipping the whole delivery bit.
Instead, the weight management company announced last week that it is working with California-based FreshRealm to get a line of healthy meal kits on grocery shelves. The launch, slated for the second half of this year, could indicate a shift in the meal kit sphere—away from online ordering and delivery and towards brick and mortar stores.
WW’s meal kits will offer healthy ingredients and recipes that fit into the company’s points system. However, since they are coming pretty soon after CEO Mindy Grossman’s attempt to rebrand Weight Watchers as a healthy lifestyle brand, they are most likely also meant to appeal to people who just want to find quick, healthy meals.
WW already has a partnership with non-subscription meal kit delivery service Chef’d, offering healthy meals that range from 150 to 250 calories per portion. But placing their “quick-prep” kits in supermarket aisles instead of offering them exclusively via delivery turns these meals into potential impulse purchases for shoppers who want something healthy to cook but don’t already have a recipe in mind when they go to the store. And we all know the grocery store is a prime location for impulse-purchase-driven sales.
This shift towards putting meal kits in grocery aisles could be a trend to watch. Just a few days after WW announced the news, Walmart announced that they’ll also be launching meal kits in their stores. Both services will be available without the subscription requirement that comes with many other meal kits. However, while Walmart’s meals will only be available at Walmart, WW will presumably be in a wider variety of supermarkets. After all, their frozen Smart Ones meals are available in most grocery stores (including Walmart).
We don’t know how much the WW meal kits will cost, but price will no doubt be a big factor in whether or not they succeed. After all, high cost was the biggest reason people dropped their meal kit subscriptions in 2017.
It’s not news that the meal kit game is a competitive, uber-crowded one. As of last year, there were over 150 companies vying to get you halfway to dinner. It makes sense for WW, a company that is all about eating particular foods to reach and maintain a healthy weight, would want to take a piece of the (low-sugar) pie. It will be interesting to follow their progress and see how successful their decision to sell in supermarkets will be. I’m betting it scores them some serious points—and saves points for their customers.