Kroger Cranks Up the Heat in Meal Kit Competition

(Bloomberg) -- Blue Apron dipped as Kroger dove deeper into the meal-kit game today with the rollout of offerings from recent acquisition Home Chef.

Shares of Blue Apron fell as much as 5.1 percent and fellow meal-kit pioneer HelloFresh also dropped 0.7 percent. Kroger rose as much as 1.8 percent.

Today’s debut of weekly rotating in-store meal kits follows Kroger’s May purchase of Home Chef after the grocer had been testing the sale of its own meal kits at hundreds of stores. The $200 million acquisition provided Kroger with access to data that comes with a direct-to-consumer e-commerce business, tools that will help the company to quickly scale its meal-kit operation.

Kroger Cranks Up the Heat in Meal Kit Competition

Competition is fierce in the meal kit industry, with startups and big box retailers alike vying for busy customers who want healthy meals minus time spent shopping. Walmart and Amazon both offer meal kits online and Albertsons bought startup Plated last year.

The Home Chef meal kits will first be available at some locations in states including Illinois, and Wisconsin. The supermarket chain also announced plans to roll out a limited market test of Home Chef Express, a meal kit ready to eat in about 15 minutes.

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