Walmart is adding fuel to its investment in the $5 billion meal kit market, announcing the roll out its meal kit service to more than 2,000 stores in 2018. The meal kits also will be sold online via Walmart’s grocery pickup service.
The meal kits, currently sold in more than 250 Walmart stores, are designed to serve two people and range in price from $8 to $15. The product was developed and tested in the retailer’s Culinary and Innovation Center and is produced and assembled fresh in-store daily. The kits are offered in three categories: pre-portioned meal kits, rotisserie chicken meals, and one-step meals.
Walmart’s push aligns with the efforts by traditional grocers, big box retailers and Amazon to move more aggressively into the meal-kit industry. Albertsons acquired meal kit service Plated in September 2017 and is introducing the product into Albertsons stores; and Kroger is testing and producing new meal kit recipes through its recently launched Culinary Innovation Center. Amazon rolled out its own branded meal kits last year, and has introduced them in its Amazon Go store in Seattle. Amazon also unveiled in February it will start delivering groceries from Whole Foods through its two-hour Prime Now delivery service.
The meal kits also take a shot at meal kit providers such as Blue Apron and HelloFresh, which do not have brick-and-mortar partners to help alleviate the cost and complex delivery process associated with the meal kit segment.
Walmart has invested heavily in its online grocery business, with subsidiary Sam's Club partnering with Instacart to offer food delivery in several states. The retail giant also is re-outfitting a dozen Sam's Club stores into distribution centers for Walmart's online grocery business.
Along with online grocery investments, Walmart recently unveiled plans for a full online revamp, starting with the furniture and home departments. The site redesign will include curated collections guided by design trends and in-house stylists, nine shop-by-style options, and editorial-style imagery and design tips enabling discovery of various styles and complete looks.