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Albertsons to repurpose plated

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BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons Cos. is phasing out subscriptions for Plated meal kits that shoppers can purchase online and cook at home.

The retailer said Plated is being transitioned into a “comprehensive in-house culinary brand” that will join its lineup of private label products.

“Our vision for Plated includes an expanded set of products that goes far beyond a dinner-based solution,” Geoff White, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Albertsons Cos., said in a statement earier this month. “With a broader scope of offerings, we see Plated solving customer demands around convenience, lifestyle and cooking experience, while adding yet another layer of interest to our in-store journey.”

Albertsons Cos. purchased Plated a little over two years ago, describing the acquisition as a sign of its determination to keep up with consumers’ changing lifestyles and food preferences.

The move was part of a wave of activity around meal kits. Kroger Co. paid $200 million last year to buy meal kit supplier Home Chef, and Walmart and Amazon were also heavily promoting meal kit solutions to food shoppers.

Blue Apron, one of the first meal kit suppliers, has posted declines in customers, orders and revenues in each of the past five quarters amid competition from mass retailers as well as upstarts such as GreenChef, Purple Carrot and Marley Spoon.

Plated’s subscription service will be halted at the end of this month.

The company also said it plans to expand the Plated brand with new product offerings in additional stores in 2020.

Albertsons Cos. late last year began introducing the meal kits in hundreds of stores in response to consumers’ desire to see meal kits on grocery store shelves as well as through subscriptions. The expanded retail offering debuted with a collection of six meal kits representing some of Plated’s customer favorites, including recipes crafted by a culinary team led by Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Elana Karp.

Going forward, Plated will become the purview of the mar-
keting and product development team behind the company’s Own Brands. The team — which has helped turn O Organics, Lucerne, Signature Select and Signature Café into billion-dollar brands for Albertsons Cos. and launched 1,100 new items in 2018 — will manage Plated’s expansion into a “holistic meal solution,” the company said.

Albertsons Cos. said its Own Brands penetration grew from 23% in fiscal 2017 to 25.3% in the retailer’s most recently reported quarter.

The decision to formally bring Plated into the company’s lineup of Own Brands comes after extensive testing of the meal kits’ in-store performance in Safeway stores in Northern California. The company said shoppers who purchased Plated products in those stores are more likely to have families than the average shopper and had a larger basket than average.

“Plated’s brand appeals to our most loyal and highest-value customers, especially those that skew towards convenient, fresh and organic products,” said White.


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