It's been just over a year since Amazon bought Whole Foods Market, and it's already upended the market for fresh prepared meal delivery.
Amazon's reputation for disrupting entire industries has the meal-kit market changing up business models in an effort to hold on to customers — before the Seattle retail giant sells its own fresh prepared dinners online. Amazon's mere presence in the market has already fundamentally altered it.
From established services like Blue Apron to vegan upstarts Purple Carrot, companies are adding celebrity spokesmodels, catering to specialized diets and promising customers everything from 30-minute meal prep to curbing heart disease. Meal kits, which were once billed as the solution to weekly or biweekly trips to a crowded grocery store, are also now selling in supermarkets and drug stores.
"The Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods really shook up a lot of players in the space from a thought process perspective," Edward Yruma, managing director of equity research at KeyBanc, told CNBC. "When that happened they all took a really hard view against what are they doing? Where could they find growth? What could they do better?"
So far, the tech giant has only tested its own branded meal kits in Seattle. It's instead selling customers dinners from Takeout Kit, which sells nonperishable prepackaged dinners, or Chef'd, which has drawn investment from Smithfield Foods.