Amazon seems poised to enter the home-delivery meal market. The company filed a trademark application on July 6 detailing plans for “prepared food kits composed of meat, poultry, fish, seafood, fruit and/or and [sic] vegetables…ready for cooking and assembly as a meal, as well as primarily grain-based offerings.” Now we’ve got a name: Amazon Meal Kits. The product’s tagline is “We do the prep. You be the chef.” To be clear, the meal kits still seem to involve some prep work—consumers will still need to wash and chop their own parsley, for instance—but Amazon seems to be trying to differentiate its product by taking most of the prep out of the equation. For months, investors have speculated that Amazon was considering this move. In early June, the company purchased Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, instantly establishing a huge network of fresh food markets around the United States. That purchase drove down the stock value of Blue Apron Holdings (APRN), the largest and best-known provider of meal kits. Blue Apron’s valuation plummeted to $7.73 per share, down from $10 a week before.
But what will the Amazon Meal Kits actually look like?
Well, we may not have to wait long to find out. According to GeekWire, the meal kits are already available in select areas. One of the website’s readers reached out to provide some pictures and info. Apparently, the Amazon Meal Kits have been available since early June. The reader, 34-year-old Josh Chadd, ordered the steak au poivre, which sold for $18.99 on Amazon’s main site. “The steak was an 8-oz. serving packaged by Corfini and was at least of USDA choice quality,” Chadd told GeekWire. “It was not an odd or awkward cut which is often the case with other services. The peas were very fresh with no blotches and tasted very sweet. The onion came pre-diced.” “It also came with fresh green peppercorns which I’ve never seen in another service even with a similarly named recipe. Overall the finished meal was a 9 out of 10 for any meal I’ve made at home even with my own ingredients.” “Everything about the meal was good, but the parmesan fries and the pepper cream sauce were the highlight for me,” Chadd added.
GeekWire reports that vegetarian Meal Kits are slightly cheaper, at $15.99 each.
We should note that there’s no indication that Amazon will keep the same pricing when introducing the product to a wider audience. Currently, customers need to be subscribed to both Amazon Prime and Amazon Fresh (the company’s grocery delivery service) to access the meal kits. Each ingredient arrives with a bright orange label, and some of the packaging appears reusable—a potential selling point, since Blue Apron’s kits have received criticism for using arguably wasteful packaging. If Amazon brings their meal delivery service to a wide market, they’d have several immediate advantages over Blue Apron. We’ll have to wait to see whether this service is a flash in the pan (pardon the pun).