Walmart is now offering meal kits and simpler "one-step meals" in more than 250 stores, the retail giant said Monday. It expects to roll out the service to 2,000 stores this year.
The push comes as traditional grocers and big-box retailers are moving more aggressively into the meal-kit industry, in hopes of reaching customers at touchpoints even beyond their store walls.
It takes aim at stand-alone meal kit providers like Blue Apron and Hellofresh, which have no brick-and-mortar partner to help alleviate the cost and complex delivery process associated with meal kits. These programs often require subscriptions, since frequent purchases are needed to manage their business model. However, some have struggled to keep the attention of their subscribers. Walmart's service requires no subscription.
"These delicious meals give the best or worst of cooks a fresh, easy option for dinner tonight, or later this week," said Tyler Lehr, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of deli services for Walmart U.S.
Walmart's meal kits will serve two people and range in price from $8 to $15. So far, options include Steak Dijon and Pork Florentine. The meals will also be available at Walmart's online grocery pickup.
The move, of course, comes as the retailer dukes it out with Amazon in the battle for food delivery. Amazon announced last month it will start delivering groceries from Whole Foods through its two-hour Prime Now delivery service. Though the Seattle giant has dabbled in meal kits, it has not yet made a concerted push to link them with its Whole Foods efforts.
Walmart has been investing heavily in its online grocery business. Last week, its subscription retailer Sam's Club hooked up with Instacart to offer food delivery in several states. It is also re-outfitting some of its Sam's Clubs into distribution centers for Walmart's online grocery business, sources have said.
Grocery competitor Albertsons last summer acquired meal kit company Plated, which it has been introducing to Albertsons stores.