Struggling meal kit company Blue Apron has launched a new line of ready-to-eat meals, addressing the complaint that its home-delivered, pre-portioned recipes still require too much work to make and then too much clean up.
The new ready-to-eat meals require some assembly but, crucially, no chopping or tidying up like the well-known ingredient meal kits do. Simply unwrap the pre-portioned proteins, veggies, etc., toss it all into an included (recyclable) aluminum tray and pop it in the oven. It’s cooking, Jim, but not as we know it.
With increased competition and a growing aversion to subscription services among customers, Blue Apron’s annual sales have not kept up with its early successes. The company’s value, valued at $2 billion in 2015, has plummeted. The current market cap is $99.33 million.
Despite a small, likely pandemic-related boost, Blue Apron has struggled to compete in the category it essentially created. While supermarket giants like Kroger, Walmart and Amazon are sticking to the idea of meal packs and fresh, ready-to-eat meals, the appeal of managing a monthly subscription when you can simply have a meal pack delivered along with your regular groceries is obvious. Decreased.
Still, Blue Apron touts its quality ingredients as a big selling point. The new Ready to Cook meals are in line with a Heat & Eat option (microwave meals) and Fast & Easy recipes (casserole and one-pan recipes) as easier-to-make, home-delivered meals that don’t taste like they came out of a cardboard box. Although in fact they come from a cardboard box – or ten. The amount of packaging used is another common complaint about this service and similar services.
The new dishes are based on Blue Apron’s most popular recipes and include cheesy tomato gnocchi with Calabrian chili and spinach; sweet chili udon and vegetables with coconut chips and sesame seeds; and pesto chicken and orzo with spinach, tomatoes, and ricotta. Subscribers can choose to add ready meals in addition to or instead of the corporate meals you need to chop. They will appear on July 29 as an option to order with your meal box on the two- and four-serve menus.
Excuse me while I go to heat up a frozen enchilada.