Amazon files meal-kits trademark, treading on Blue Apron's turf

Key Points
  • Amazon has registered a U.S. trademark for a service described as: "We do the prep. You be the chef."
  • This latest ambition by Amazon could threaten meal-kits provider Blue Apron, which has seen its stock tumble on the heels of its IPO.
  • Blue Apron today holds the title as the largest meal-kit provider in the U.S., followed by German-based HelloFresh.
Amazon treads on Blue Apron's turf

Amazon, whose plans to acquire supermarket chain Whole Foods pose a threat to the grocery industry, appears to be entering the meal-kits business.

Amazon registered a trademark in the U.S. on July 6 for a service described as: "We do the prep. You be the chef." The service will provide customers "prepared food kits ... ready for cooking and assembly as a meal," according to the trademark application.

The kits will primarily consist of grains, rice, noodles, pasta or bakery products, Amazon said.

The Times, a British-based publication, first reported this news Sunday.

This fresh ambition by Amazon will no doubt threaten meal-kits provider Blue Apron, which just recently listed on the public market.

Representatives from Amazon and Blue Apron didn't immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

Blue Apron holds the title as the largest meal-kit provider in the U.S., followed by German-based HelloFresh.

Since its initial public offering, though, shares of Blue Apron have tumbled. Just last week, the stock closed at a new low after an analyst slapped Blue Apron with a $2 price target, citing difficulty with the business ever becoming profitable. Blue Apron's stock closed Friday at $7.36 per share, down nearly 10 percent for the week.

On Monday morning, Blue Apron's stock was falling more than 10 percent, hitting an all-time-low below the $7 mark.

Amazon preps to enter meal-kit market: Report

Amazon has already been testing both food delivery, through AmazonFresh, and meal kits, which deliver fresh ingredients and recipes to subscribers. Amazon first experimented with AmazonFresh in 2007.

Until now, though, Amazon's testing of meal kits has carried no official label, slogan nor branding. currently carries meal kits by other third parties, including Tyson Foods' Tyson Tastemakers and Martha & Marley Spoon. Last week, Marley Spoon said it will soon begin selling Dinnerly, a more cost-conscious box of ingredients aimed at helping families cook up an inexpensive, but quality dinner.

High prices have been a widespread complaint among consumers looking for the right meal kit, and Amazon — known for keeping prices competitively low — could be looking to solve this problem, seeing opportunity in an evolving and expanding market.

Amazon's stock was climbing slightly higher Monday morning. In addition to this development, an analyst from UBS issued a note saying shares could climb 60 percent higher, to $1,600 apiece, to rival Apple's size.

"If Amazon wants to do meal kits, Amazon will do meal kits," Mark Bittman, who's served as a consultant to activist investor Jana Partners on Whole Foods, recently told CNBC.

"Amazon will sell anybody anything they want to buy," Bittman said. "Amazon is in the business to sell everything."

Correction: This story was revised to clarify that the patent filing was July 6.