CEO Josh Hix Steps Down at Albertsons-Owned Meal-Kit Company Plated

(Bloomberg) -- The chief executive officer of meal-kit delivery company Plated is stepping down, according to an email from parent company Albertsons Cos.

The unit, which Albertsons acquired in 2017, confirmed Josh Hix “has decided to leave the company.” It didn’t give a reason for his departure or say where he was going next.

“We sincerely thank Josh for his dedication to Plated from its inception, and we look forward to sustaining and growing Plated in the future with their talented New York City-based team. The meal kit industry is a dynamic and evolving space and we look forward to continuing to expand Plated,” Albertsons said in the email.

Hix co-founded the meal-delivery service in 2012 and later pitched the idea on the television show “Shark Tank.” Co-founder Nick Taranto left the company in October. At the time of the Albertsons acquisition, Bloomberg reported the deal was valued at about $200 million, though subsequent press has valued it higher.

Albertsons -- which also owns grocery chains like Safeway and Shaw’s -- bought Plated in the culmination of swift deal talks that were sparked by the Amazon.com Inc.-Whole Foods tie-up. The transaction was intended to give it a much-needed vehicle for reaching younger consumers attracted to the convenience of having their meals and ingredients delivered.

But the meal-kit industry has struggled with the difficult economics of delivering fresh ingredients to customers’ homes. Blue Apron Holdings Inc., the best-known name in the industry, has struggled since going public. Its shares dropped 75 percent last year, closing 2018 at just above $1. Albertsons started to sell Plated meal kits in some of its stores last year.

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