Pro Analysis

Breakingviews: Blue Apron offers tasty food, but nauseating financial numbers

Blue Apron delivery service.
Source: Blue Apron
Blue Apron delivery service.

Blue Apron, the meal-kit delivery firm that wants to go public, serves up delicious meals and tantalizing sales growth. But look closely at the ingredients. New-customer acquisition costs are surging, they are ordering fewer meals, and competitors abound. Like Groupon before it, this is a case where the product is fine but the stock is best avoided.

The idea is simple and appealing. Deliver easily prepared meals to clients' doors. Young professionals and harried homemakers can appreciate not having to stop at stores or draw up menus. Budding cooks can try out new dishes. Customers with few restaurant options nearby can try out cool recipes. All of this helps explain why Blue Apron – which wisely changed its name from Petridish Media – has over 1 million customers and grew first-quarter revenue 42 percent to $245 million.