It was no real surprise to read that Amazon brand meal kits are surfacing in select Whole Foods. I was honestly wondering what was taking Bezos and co. so long to get there. But Amazon pushing its own meal kits in the high-end grocery chain comes at a time when in-store retail is driving growth in the meal kit sector, and also as Amazon reportedly looks to create its own supermarket chain.
Grocery Dive was first to report on Amazon’s meal kits out in the wild, confirming with the company that they are available in select locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, Southern California, Nevada and Arizona. Previously, the meal kits had been sold through other Amazon outlets like Amazon Prime and Fresh, as well as through its Go convenience stores.
Retail outlets such as Go and Whole Foods is where all the action is in meal kits. A recent Nielsen report showed that the majority of growth in the meal kit sector came from in-store sales, generating $93 million in revenue across 2018. That number is could climb even higher as NPD found that nearly 100 million American adults still haven’t tried meal kits, but want to. NPD also found that consumers are not tied to a particular brand of meal kit yet, so there is room for a company like Amazon to come in and grab marketshare without having to fight set-in habits.
So there is burgeoning demand for meal kits, and Amazon is ready to get you one in just about any way imaginable. You can buy them online when you’re planning ahead, at a Go store when you’re, well, on the go, and at a Whole Foods for either of those occasions.
But Whole Foods isn’t just another sales channel for Amazon. It also provides the company with more of what it hungers for the most: data. Selling Amazon meal kits in Whole Foods gives the mothership more insight into where, what, when and how people purchase meal kits. This data can then be used to refine all its meal kits processes for when the company opens up its own grocery stores.
That’s right: if you missed it, Amazon is supposedly eyeballing its own grocery store chain. The Wall Street Journal broke the news earlier this month that Amazon is planning to build up to a dozen, 35,000 sq. ft. retail outlets. Connecting meal kits with its own stores and with delivery is a no brainer and something The Spoon’s Mike Wolf saw coming awhile back when he wrote:
The bottom line is [Amazon] want[s] to make feeding yourself through an Amazon platform so easy and friction-free you almost have no choice. While Amazon Go is just the latest and most visible sign of Amazon strategy, the company has clearly been positioning themselves to capture as much of the $5 trillion food retail marketplace for the last decade, and now they have all the pieces to be there at every step along the meal journey.
Meal kits are also the perfect form factor for Amazon to deliver to your door or office. They are already packaged up into their own stackable boxes (no irregular shapes) that can be shipped out same day via Amazon drivers or Scout delivery robots.
That Amazon is looking to expand its meal kits presence as part of the reinvention of the meal journey shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone paying attention.