Beleaguered meal kit company Blue Apron is making yet another attempt to boost declining sales with a new service: meal prep kits.
The new kits come with everything you need to prepare four meals for two people (so eight meals in total). It takes 1.5 to 2 hours to make the components of all the meals, which are meant to be packed away into containers to be reheated or eaten chilled throughout the week.
Blue Apron has four prep kit options: Signature, Carb Conscious, Pescetarian and Multi-Cooker. They shake out to around $72 per box, or $8.99 per serving. The kits don’t come with containers, and the website notes that you’ll need 16 storage vessels to hold your food and sauces (eight large, eight small).
The prep kits are already available to people in select states on the East Coast with a planned delivery date for February 24. Blue Apron will expand their availability nationwide later this year.
You have to give Blue Apron kudos — it’s experimented tirelessly to come up with ways to revitalize its struggling business. So far the company has teamed up with Beyond Meat and Weight Watchers, and last year it even started offering same-day delivery. So far, none of these have done too much to jump start sales for Blue Apron, which reported a 35 percent slump in Q3 of 2019.
So could these meal prep kits finally be a win for the company? I actually think it has a better chance than, say, incorporating Beyond Meat into their menus. Meal prepping is a growing trend and it’s definitely more convenient to get all the ingredients to make four different meals send right to your door.
But even with the prep kits, Blue Apron will still face two big issues: inconvenience and price. Setting aside two full hours to prep four days’ worth of meals may be a smart time investment, but it’s still kind of a long time — especially for those who aren’t very cooking-savvy. And what if you end up going out for lunch or don’t want to reheat that salmon you cooked four days ago? The prepped meals will also cost around $8 per serving, which is not markedly less than grabbing a sandwich or deli salad.
Long story short, while the meal prep kits are an interesting bid, I don’t think they’re enough to entice new consumers to try Blue Apron — or keep them coming back. Then again, 93 million Americans are meal kit curious, so there’s definitely a market out there. If they want to tap into those potential customers, I think Blue Apron would be better off following in the footsteps of other meal kit companies and selling its kits (meal prep or otherwise) in retail, instead.