Blue Apron layoffs hit the office hardest, warehouse workers mostly spared, say sources

Key Points
  • Meal kit makers Blue Apron are laying off 6% of their 5,400 employees the company announced in an SEC filing on Wednesday.
  • CNBC has confirmed that the layoffs effected mostly salaried office workers, rather than shift workers in Blue Apron fulfillment centers.
Catfish tacos from Amazon, vs catfish fillets from Blue Apron

Meal kit makers Blue Apron announced in an SEC filing on Wednesday that the company is laying off 6% of its employees, or approximately 300 people.

The layoffs hit salaried employees hardest, and affected few shift workers in the company's warehouses, according to two sources with direct knowledge -- one current and one laid-off employee.

The company's CEO had described the layoffs as a "company-wide realignment," in an email to employees. Blue Apron let go of marketing, software development, operations and business development talent in its New York headquarters, sources confirmed.

Blue Apron did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The layoffs on Wednesday followed a period of aggressive marketing and other expenditures by Blue Apron leading up to its IPO in June.

It recently established a new, high-tech fulfillment center in Linden, New Jersey. And its hiring rate had been aggressive before and after its public market debut.

In Blue Apron's IPO registration filing, published in June this year, the company noted its personnel expenses: "Our expenses increased sequentially quarter-to-quarter for all periods presented, primarily due to...headcount...facilities costs...[and] an increase in personnel costs driven by increased hiring in corporate positions."

Blue Apron's stock is down almost 50% since its IPO.

The company has seen a strong onslaught of competition for customers from meal kit brands that range from smaller startups like Sun Basket and Green Chef to behemoths like Amazon, which acquired Whole Foods and sells meal kits, or Plated, which was acquired by Albertsons in a deal valued at $200 million.