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To compete with Amazon, grocers could start purchasing meal kit companies

  • In an attempt to maintain their share in the grocery sector, grocers could be gearing up to acquire meal kit services, according to a report by The Information, a subscription-based technology news website.
  • Albertsons Companies, which owns grocery chain Safeway, reportedly discussed purchasing the meal kit start-up Plated.
  • The chief executive of Green Chef said he was open to accepting offers for the company, and Home Chef hired bankers to explore a possible sale.
Meal kit in delivery box.
Getty Images
Meal kit in delivery box.

Meal kit companies and grocers could form an unlikely alliance to battle back against Amazon.

While meal kits have long struggled to prove their worth and convenience to customers, Amazon's recent acquisition of Whole Foods has weighed heavily on grocery stocks.

In an attempt to maintain their share in the sector, grocers could be gearing up to acquire meal kit services, according to a report by The Information, a subscription-based technology news website.

Albertsons Companies, which owns grocery chain Safeway, reportedly discussed purchasing the meal kit start-up Plated, The Information said, citing two people familiar with the matter. There is no word on whether the companies will agree to a merger. The companies did not immediately respond to CNBC requests for comment.

Some meal kit companies seem receptive to the idea.

The chief executive of Green Chef said he was open to accepting offers for the company, and Home Chef hired bankers to explore a possible sale.

"There [is] a frenetic market out there," Green Chef CEO Michael Joseph told The Information, "but we're talking to strategics and we wouldn't be shocked if we got an offer. We had companies asked if we're for sale. As a responsible CEO I said, 'Perhaps.'"

About 12 percent of U.S. grocery shoppers bought their groceries online at some point in 2016, according to Cowen and Company. As that number grows, those onsumers may adopt meal kit services as well.

Amazon has already been testing food delivery through AmazonFresh and selling meal kits in metropolitan areas, but having the largest organic retailer in its pocket could help the tech company spread quicker to areas outside of major cities.

Not to mention, the tech giant has about 31 million households with access to an Amazon Prime membership and more than half of them are already purchase groceries online via the website.

Amazon's growing presence in the grocery industry could prompt grocers to look into purchasing meal kit companies that can be integrated into their operations.

"You're seeing incredible changes in the landscape of how people buy food and the migration online," Kyle Ransford, CEO of Chef'd, told The Information. "But brick and mortar is going to be significant. A lot of major retailers are interested in adding meal kits."

Last month, Kroger began testing its own kits of premeasured ingredients in four of its Cincinnati stores.

Read the full report from The Information.